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Serving as a language translator (broker) for family members during childhood can affect cognitive and emotional function in both beneficial and detrimental ways. Child language brokers translate in a variety of contexts including conversations between their parents and financial, legal, and medical professionals. Pressure to be involved in these activities may negatively affect mental health by placing undue stress on child language brokers, while also distracting from other responsibilities such as school. In this study, the relationship between language brokering during childhood and adolescence and the mental health of bilingual young adults was examined. Overall, language brokers had higher levels of depression. Young adults who previously served as language brokers, particularly during their preadolescent years, had higher levels of anxiety than their bilingual non-brokering counterparts. It is important for parents, educators, and mental health professionals to become more aware of the mental health consequences that may arise from language brokering duties, particularly how symptoms vary depending on whether brokering began in childhood or adolescence.
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... La mediación lingüística es estudiada desde distintos campos como la sociología, la psicología, los estudios familiares o la lingüística (Corona et al., 2012;Hua & Costigan, 2012;Kim et al., 2017;Rainey et al., 2014;Weisskirch, 2013). En este artículo, lejos de pretender analizar las potencialidades pedagógicas de la mediación lingüística en la enseñanza de las lenguas (De Arriba, 2003;Trovato, 2013;2014; o profundizar conceptualmente en el área de estudio (Blini, 2009;Trovato, 2019), el interés que nos mueve es básicamente educativo, ya que nos acercamos al objeto de estudio como una de las múltiples realidades que experimenta en la actualidad una parte del alumnado. ...
... De acuerdo con las evidencias aportadas por Sherman & Homoláč (2017), es interesante observar que, en todos los casos de este estudio, los participantes recordaron sus primeras experiencias como situaciones incómodas, que fueron mejorando a medida que adquirían competencias y se adaptaban a las exigencias del rol. En consonancia con lo anterior, Rainey et al. (2014) analizaron los factores de riesgo asociados a la mediación lingüística en diferentes grupos de edad, y encontraron que las personas que se iniciaron en edades tempranas manifiestan un riesgo menor de presentar niveles elevados de ansiedad durante la traducción, respecto a otros grupos que se iniciaron en la adolescencia. ...
... Por otro lado, se halló que la dificultad de las traducciones que conllevan una implicación cognitiva compleja se acentúa con la impaciencia de los padres, además de la responsabilidad y la presión que implican, al tratarse de contenidos que comprometen la economía familiar (Anguiano, 2018;Kim et al., 2018;Rainey et al., 2014). Por consiguiente, los niños expuestos a los problemas financieros, legales o de salud de la familia, se ven afectados emocionalmente por el conocimiento de los problemas del hogar, desarrollando una empatía hacia los padres que se ratifica en la necesidad de estar permanentemente disponibles para ellos. ...
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La mediación interlingüística infantojuvenil se refiere a la intervención comunicativa de individuos sin autoridad, como ejercicio normativo. Este estudio analiza las percepciones de los hijos de inmigrantes de primera generación sobre la mediación interlingüística, identificando dificultades y soluciones desde los contextos escolares y familiares. Desde un enfoque cualitativo, se desarrollaron entrevistas y grupos de discusión cuyos participantes fueron alumnos y profesionales. Los hallazgos muestran dificultades relacionadas con la dependencia parental, el estrés, la falta de empatía por parte de los profesionales, el sentimiento de incompetencia o la complejidad para la resolución de problemas por parte de los niños
... In emerging adults (18-24 years of age), language brokering experiences are also related to enhanced cognitive control abilities, but not syntactic awareness (Rainey, Davidson, & Li-Grining, 2015). However, other research indicates that language brokering experience leads to unfavorable outcomes such as increased depression, stress, anxiety, and substance abuse in adolescents and emerging adults (Kam, 2011;Kam & Lazarevic, 2014b;Rainey, Flores, Morrison, David, & Silton, 2014;Rainey, Flores-Lamb, Gjorgieva, & Speed, 2019;Wu & Kim, 2009). The variability of outcomes brings to question whether language brokering experiences are beneficial or harmful (Morales & Hanson, 2005;Weisskirch, 2017b). ...
... Previous research on brokering demonstrated that language brokering experiences can lead to strained parent-child relationships, which can later lead to increased alcohol and drug abuse. Future work may benefit from examining the parent-child relationships in brokering contexts (see Kam, 2011;Kam & Lazarevic, 2014b;Martinez et al., 2009;Morales, Yakushko, & Castro, 2012;Rainey et al., 2019Rainey et al., , 2014. ...
... The frequency of brokering across the life span, particularly in adolescents but also extending into adulthood, has also demonstrated effects on ethnic identity, parent-child relationships, and mental health (Chao, 2006;Hua & Costigan, 2012;Kam, 2011;Martinez, McClure, & Eddy, 2009;Rainey et al., 2017Rainey et al., , 2019Rainey et al., , 2014. More language brokering is related to feeling a stronger sense of ethnic identity in Latina/o brokers (Weisskirch, 2005). ...
... In addition to this important contribution to the literature, the current study also investigated the possibility that increased anxiety and depression levels observed in past studies (e.g. Hua and Costigan 2010;Rainey et al. 2014) may undermine positive academic motivation in higher education. In particular, anxiety during the forethought and planning stages may interfere with motivational factors and learning strategies (Chen, Hsu, and Chen 2011;Shores and Shannon 2007). ...
... Although other studies may have identified greater anxiety or depression in frequent language brokers (e.g. Benner 2011; Love and Buriel 2007;Rainey et al. 2014;Weisskirch 2007;Weisskirch 2013), heavy, long-term language brokers reported greater self-discipline and self-regulation when faced with the challenging transition to university expectations. This maturity level and greater sense of academic self-efficacy may serve as a protective factor for their future, as they would have more mental 'tools' to overcome challenges. ...
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Previous research studying language brokers (i.e. children/adolescents who translate for family members) has indicated some positive correlations between frequent language brokering and gains in cognitive development, although little of this research has been conducted on language brokers during the university/higher education years. At the same time, there is evidence documenting elevated levels of depression and anxiety in brokers who translate frequently, which may undermine positive cognitive developments. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of accumulated brokering frequency on academic motivation and learning strategies in United States university students, while accounting for psychological health symptoms. Greater brokering experience uniquely predicted increases in academic motivation and learning strategies. In particular, these relations were driven by greater value components (i.e. intrinsic and extrinsic goal orientation, task value understanding) and cognitive and metacognitive strategy use. This suggests greater self-regulated learning abilities in the university setting for language brokers with more translation experience. The brokers’ reported psychological health symptoms did not interact with these positive correlations. Overall, these findings help to more directly understand the context of the language broker in higher academia and the impact on cognitive outcomes during this important transition into adulthood.
... Migrant children are often more exposed than their parents to the dominant language and customs of the countries in which they settle (Rainey et al., 2014). This is especially evident in humanitarian migrant contexts (Hynie et al., 2013). ...
... This is especially evident in humanitarian migrant contexts (Hynie et al., 2013). Consequently, younger migrants often face expectations from their family to help translate language in a range of situations (Rainey et al., 2014). Through language brokering, young people actively construct their parents' social reality (Bauer, 2016). ...
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