Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Doreen Elliott


This research sought to identify the factors that contribute to the wellbeing of Colombians in the United States by exploring the differences in their wellbeing across three waves of immigration. It examined the extent to which acculturation, ethnic identity, self-esteem, and resilience explain wellbeing. Although Colombians represent one of the largest groups of immigrants from South America, studies available to date are based on groups with ethnic labels such as "Hispanics" or "Latinos." The Colombian government estimates that there are about 1.5 million Colombians, including documented and undocumented, residing in this country. This investigation used time periods of Colombian migration as first wave: 1945-1965; second wave: 1966-1990; and third wave: 1991-2002. Contrary to expected results, acculturation did not correlate with nor predicted wellbeing, by wave or as a group. Ethnic identity also did not correlate with wellbeing. However, results indicate that ethnic identity negatively predicts wellbeing for Colombian males who entered the U.S. during wave 3; thus, as their extent of ethnic identity increased, their wellbeing decreased. Findings show that there is no significant difference in resilience across waves; conversely, a correlation between resilience and wellbeing for all participants in the study was significant and positive. Additionally, resilience was a predictor of wellbeing in the absence of control variables. Further research would need to assess whether the definition of resilience is different from culture to culture in order to interpret these findings completely. Self-esteem correlated with wellbeing and was a predictor of wellbeing. Colombian participants in the sample, both as a group and divided by waves, exhibited high levels of wellbeing as their level of self-esteem increased. This study aimed to not only identify factors that contribute to the wellbeing of Colombians in the U.S., but also to assist in the search for scales that are appropriate to study this population. Further research is needed to fully establish the validity of scales used in this study. Additionally, it is important to determine if these scales are measuring the same underlying constructs as the original scales were validated on.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons