Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 383–393 | Cite as

An Exploratory Analysis of Linguistic Acculturation, Neighborhood, and Risk Behaviors Among Children of Southeast Asian Immigrants

  • Christina Tam
  • Bridget Freisthler


Southeast Asian youth are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system, and yet little is known about the correlates of their delinquency. Predicated upon segmented assimilation theory, the aims of this study were (1) to examine the relationship between linguistic acculturation and risk behaviors and (2) to investigate neighborhood effects on risk behaviors among a sample of 153 at-risk Southeast Asian youth and young adults recruited from the East Bay Area near San Francisco, California. Exploratory factor analysis from estimated Census data derived neighborhood constructs for concentrated disadvantage and immigrant concentration. A series of binary logistic regression models suggested that linguistic acculturation, neighborhood disadvantage, and immigrant concentration were not related to violence perpetration, arrest, or gang association. Males and those who had dropped out of school were more likely to report acts that are associated with delinquency. Findings suggest that scholars and policymakers should continue to use disaggregated ethnic data to implement culturally competent practices that are reflective of the respective groups’ cultural backgrounds and migration histories. Implications for further research and practice among children of Southeast Asian immigrants are discussed.


Southeast Asian youth Neighborhood effects Segmented assimilation Delinquency Acculturation 



The research for this manuscript was funded by a Grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01-DA18281, P.I. Juliet P. Lee), the Harry H.L. Kitano Fellowship through the UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, and the UCLA Graduate Summer Mentorship Program. We thank Dr. Juliet P. Lee for her comments on this manuscript and for the use of these data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WelfareUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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