Presentation Title

Psychological impact in highly skilled immigrants working in low skilled jobs.

Faculty Mentor

Shiloh Blacksher

Start Date

17-11-2018 10:00 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 10:15 AM

Location

C151

Session

Oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

The issue of immigration is currently a divisive topic, with many negative assumptions and judgments made regarding those who immigrate. This research focuses on the case studies of five different Latinos who have bachelor’s degrees and careers in white collar professions. Interviews from a lawyer, an engineer in computer science, a business manager, a university professor, and an accountant help shed light on the psychological impact that many highly skilled immigrants have to undergo when working in low skilled jobs. Recent times have shown that Latin Americans, especially immigrants, are under the constant struggle of discrimination, along with the pressure of adjusting into a new country. Previous research has also shown that, because of this discouragement, immigrants are unable to develop their abilities to their fullest extent. Nonetheless, these five case studies show how the individuals coped or are still coping with culture shock. The reliance on family, which is considered a cultural value in Latin America, was a big factor for four out of five of the interviewees. Additionally, the narrative accounts suggest that their education and experience obtained in their previous professions, prepared them to use the problem-focused coping mechanism. Although it is known that there is a vast population of highly skilled immigrants (not limited to Latin-Americans), who are not appropriately using their skills and/or experience in their current profession, there are gaps and outdated information on the issue. Implications of this research will be discussed in greater detail, considering the important strengths that these individuals possess in their respective fields.

Summary of research results to be presented

Latino immigrants who are parents and are considered middle-class individuals in their country or origin, tend to base their decision of moving to the United States on the future of their children, not for personal interests. Language barrier is a reason to their decision of working in low-skilled jobs; thus, becoming a factor to frustration that correlates to work-related stress. Two of these individuals self-reported that their physical health has worsened upon arrival to the United States, and three said it did not change. Additionally, two said they experienced much more stress, two of them declared they had slightly more stress, and one person said he had the normal amount of stress. When working in low skilled jobs, four said they felt or still feel frustrated, two also said they felt depressed and indignant, and one person said he had no issues in his current job.

All of them changed the way they interact with the stressor by having an internal locus of control; thus, implementing the problem-focused coping mechanism. Two of them decided to find new jobs where they can apply their experience; one person decided to move up in his current job and work in a personal business; two managed to work in their previous fields after working low skilled jobs. Family, a cultural value in Latin America, has also been an outstanding factor for coping as a social support for four of these individuals.

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Nov 17th, 10:00 AM Nov 17th, 10:15 AM

Psychological impact in highly skilled immigrants working in low skilled jobs.

C151

The issue of immigration is currently a divisive topic, with many negative assumptions and judgments made regarding those who immigrate. This research focuses on the case studies of five different Latinos who have bachelor’s degrees and careers in white collar professions. Interviews from a lawyer, an engineer in computer science, a business manager, a university professor, and an accountant help shed light on the psychological impact that many highly skilled immigrants have to undergo when working in low skilled jobs. Recent times have shown that Latin Americans, especially immigrants, are under the constant struggle of discrimination, along with the pressure of adjusting into a new country. Previous research has also shown that, because of this discouragement, immigrants are unable to develop their abilities to their fullest extent. Nonetheless, these five case studies show how the individuals coped or are still coping with culture shock. The reliance on family, which is considered a cultural value in Latin America, was a big factor for four out of five of the interviewees. Additionally, the narrative accounts suggest that their education and experience obtained in their previous professions, prepared them to use the problem-focused coping mechanism. Although it is known that there is a vast population of highly skilled immigrants (not limited to Latin-Americans), who are not appropriately using their skills and/or experience in their current profession, there are gaps and outdated information on the issue. Implications of this research will be discussed in greater detail, considering the important strengths that these individuals possess in their respective fields.