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Language Brokering among Immigrant Latino Families: Measurement Validation, Moderating Variables, and Youth Outcomes


Language brokering can be defined as interpretation bilingual children provide for their parents or other monolingual persons. Although language brokering is a common practice among immigrant communities, it is still a growing body of literature in need of theoretical and measurement development. This study addressed these gaps in the extant literature in the following ways: (a) the Language Brokering Measure - IV (LBM-IV; Anguiano, 2009) was revised based on empirical examinations of its psychometric properties; (b) a comprehensive theoretical framework of language brokering was put forth, and (c) a theoretical model developed from this framework, which examined the effects of various language brokering experiences and family obligation on perceived stress and academic achievement, was empirically tested using latent variable regression. Participants included 362 Spanish-speaking, Latino adolescents from immigrant families. Structural validity results supported a three-factor structure of the LBM-IV, which included the division of language brokering experiences according to high-stakes, everyday, and low-stakes translating situations. Model-testing results indicated that translating in High-Stakes situations negatively affected the academic achievement of language-brokering youth, while translating in Everyday situations positively affected it. Furthermore, youth who had higher levels of family obligation reported lower levels of perceived stress, higher academic achievement, and were buffered against the negative effects of High-Stakes translating duties on perceived stress. Implications of these results for language brokering scale development and theory development are discussed.

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