Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD; Reyes L. Quezada, EdD; Alberto López Pulido, PhD


3rd generation, college students, culture, higher education, hybridity, identity, Lived experience, Mexican heritage, minority & ethnic groups, Psychosocial, qualitative, U.S. born, worldviews


The purpose of this study was to describe the psychosocial and identity challenges of 3rd generation and beyond U.S.-born (3GAB-USB) Mexican heritage college students. Alvarez (1973) has written about the psychosocial impact "hybridity" can have on a U.S.- born (USB) Mexican individual who incorporates two distinct cultures (American and Mexican) in order to succeed in U.S. society, and yet, few empirical data is available beyond the 1st and 2nd generation on USB Mexican college students. As an example, there is no mention in the literature of two distinct and different worldviews present between immigrant and 3GAB-USB Mexican college students, which would enhance the overall reliability and validity of data when studying Mexican-origin individuals of the United States (Delgado-Romero, Galván, Maschino, & Rowland, 2005; Umaña-Taylor, & Fine, 2004, 2001). Therefore, this study focused on the lived experiences of 3rd generation and beyond U.S.-born Mexican heritage college students utilizing a basic interpretive and descriptive qualitative research design (Merriam & Associates, 2002) in order to: (a) build a picture of the identity elements of the participants by examining the lived experiences they have had from infancy through college; (b) listen to what participants had to say about themselves in relationship to their identity development; (c) see if hybridity had a psychosocial impact on the participants; and (d) explore whether the generalized perceptions from previous research inquiry which commingled the worldview, identity, and lived experience with immigrant Mexican-origin and other Latino college students was valid. In order to disaggregate from an immigrant perspective, the participants were nine 3GAB-USB individuals of Mexican heritage who attend colleges and universities located in three California counties. Themes and categories cultivated from the data were examined and used to create a foundation on which to proceed in future research with the 3GAB-USB Mexican, and other USB ethnic college student populations. The study revealed the perceptions, myths, and stereotypes perpetuated by the media, academia, society, and government policy, are not necessarily the reality of this limited sample population of 3rd generation and beyond U.S.-born Mexican heritage college students.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access