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The Adaptation of Southeast Asian Refugee Youth: A Comparative Study

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This monograph presents the results of a comparative study conducted in 1986-87 in San Diego, California, of the adaptation of refugee youth from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The project examined both successes and problems of these refugee youth regarding their educational and occupational attainments and aspirations, and evaluated their prospects for economic self-sufficiency in the United States. Data were drawn from the Indochinese Health & Adaptation Research Project (IHARP) longitudinal surveys, the San Diego City Schools (including complete academic histories), the San Diego County Probation Department, and intensive qualitative interviews with 76 informants. Findings are presented in the following areas: (1) characteristics of San Diego high school students; (2) grade point averages of San Diego high school students; (3) characteristics of Southeast Asian students and their parents; (4) grade point averages of Southeast Asian students; (5) standardized test achievement scores; (6) determinants of educational attainment; (7) occupational aspirations of Southeast Asian students; (8) problem areas: student dropouts, school suspensions, and juvenile delinquency; (9) adaptive resources: social class and cultural characteristics; (10) adaptive contexts: family, school, and community; and (11) adaptive strategies: acculturation and coping. Data are presented in 50 figures and tables. A separate chapter provides twelve in-depth case histories of 4 Vietnamese, 4 Cambodian, and 4 Hmong youth.

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