Menu Close

Profiles of Latino Adaptation at Elite Colleges and Universities


Rivas-Drake, Deborah & Mooney, Margarita A. (2008). Profiles of Latino Adaptation at Elite Colleges and Universities. American Journal of Community Psychology, 42(1-2), 1-16.


Drawing on frameworks of blocked opportunity, social identity, and immigrant adaptation processes, we tested competing hypotheses about Latino achievement, focusing on variation in the ways in which Latino students at elite colleges perceive and navigate minority status. Using data from 916 participants in the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, cluster analyses identify three profiles of perceived opportunity and social exclusion. Students in the assimilation profile do not believe minority status impacts opportunity. Those in the accommodation profile believe unequal opportunity can be overcome by individual effort. Finally, students in the resistance profile are most skeptical about opportunity for minorities, and these students also report more on-campus ethnic prejudice than their peers. As freshmen, perceived prejudice predicted lower grades only for students in the accommodation profile; however, accommodators later report higher academic achievement than resisters as sophomores. We discuss the conceptual utility of examining multiple beliefs about opportunity in concert.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Community Psychology


Rivas-Drake, Deborah
Mooney, Margarita A.