We all drove to Phoenix and testified together to the Arizona Liquor License Board. Youth provided personal testimonies, I shared my research, community leaders testified, policemen gave examples, and government officials spoke. We thought our small town didn’t stand a chance against a giant corporation. When the board voted to uphold the local government’s decision to deny the liquor license WOW!-we realized that we did it! It was a major victory and the accumulation of all those years of collaboration and prevention work paid off. The youth, elders, and community leaders stood up and clapped and cheered. This is one of my favorite memories of my research in Tucson, because it demonstrates (1) the power and agency of young Latino teens (2) the positive impact of a cohesive neighborhood community that works together (3) the relevance of research to help communities solve real issues that impact the development of teens.
I grew up on the U.S/Mexico border in a bicultural and bilingual community, and it taught me a lot about the beauty and strength of culture and about how to navigate bicultural contexts. I feel lucky to be able to conduct my research in Tucson, the city is full of Mexican culture, music, Spanish language, and Sonoran food. My research is primarily conducted off-campus in a nearby neighborhood where 85% of the community is Mexican descent. The resilience I witness among teens in Tucson has inspired my research to more thoroughly examine adolescent involvement in civic activities in their neighborhoods to change policy, and to change the status quo in the political climate of education. Most of my research revolves around trying to understand how we can improve well-being for Latino adolescents through working with assets in their identities, families and neighborhoods.
The major research projects that I am working on right now address the following questions:
- What are sources of resiliency within low-income neighborhoods that contribute to substance use prevention, and educational achievement?
- What are effective parenting strategies (communication, monitoring, financial education, positive relationships) to help Latino youth as they transition into adulthood?
- How can we better understand the ecodevelopmental context of adolescent depression and suicide among Latinos? What factors contribute to greater adolescent resiliency and better mental well-being?
Dr. Romero is taking graduate students for entry in 2014.
- Social Psychology
- Community-based Health Promotion
- Youth Mental well-being
- Bicultural Stress (Stress due to discrimination, family cultural conflict, language)
- Ethnic identity
Dr. Romero has focused her research career on understanding the social and cultural factors that influence adolescent development and adolescent health. She has published several articles that investigate influences on adolescent substance use, risky sexual behavior, physical activity, and mental well-being. Her research findings demonstrate that although discrimination has a negative impact on mental health and risky behaviors, adolescents with a strong ethnic identity seem to fare better. She used theory to create a measure of bicultural stress that several studies have demonstrated is associated with more depressive symptoms, lower self-esteem, and more risky behaviors for White, Asian, and Latino adolescents. Her research on neighborhood safety has debunked conventional assumptions that neighborhood hazards were linked to more obesity and less physical activity among youth. A central element of Dr. Romero’s methodological approach is that of participatory action research, which is done in dialogue and collaboration with community members.
- Principal Investigator, Zona de Promesa: Neighborhood Strategies to close the Achievement Gap, Helios Foundation and Arizona Community Foundation, $70,000.
- Co-Principal Investigator, Telenovela Intervention for Home Care Services, National Institutes of Nursing Research. $224,241. Principal Investigator: Janice Crist.
- Principal Investigator, South Tucson Prevention Coalition. $258,200. Research partners: Michele Orduna, City of South Tucson, John Valenzuela Youth Center, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation.
- Co-Investigator, Determinants and disparities in high-risk sexual behavior in US adolescents. $147, 277. Research partners: P.I. Dr. Scott Carvajal.
- Principal Investigator, 4 Elements Project. NIH grant under review. Research partners: Tucson Unified School District, 4 Elements Team.
- Lifespan Development (FSHD 117)
- Advanced Topics in Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD 496z)
- Chicano/a Psychology (undergraduate) (MAS 280)
Here are some recent selected publications by Dr. Romero.
Romero, A.J. & O’Leary, A.O. (in press). When you know yourself you’re more confident: Resilience and stress of undergraduate students in the face of “Anti-Ethnic Studies” bills. In J. Cammarota. & Augustine Romero. (Eds.) Ethnic Studies. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press.
Romero, A.J., Edwards, L. & Orduña, M. (in press). Multiracial feminist framework: Influence of social power structures on mental health of Latina adolescents. In F. Villaruel & N. Cabrera. (Eds.). Latinos and mental health.
Russell, S. & Romero, A.J. (in press). Sexual orientation and identity in Latino/a youth: Implications for mental health. In F. Villaruel & N. Cabrera. (Eds.). Latinos and mental health.
Romero, A.J., Edwards, L., Fryberg, S. Orduna, M. (in press). Resilience to Discrimination Stress Across Ethnic Identity Stages of Development. Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
Romero, A.J. Edwards, L., Corkery, S. (2013). Assessing and treating Latinos: Overview of mental health research. In. F. Paniagua (Ed.) Handbook of multicultural mental health: Assessment and treatment of diverse populations. San Diego: Academic Press.
Cabrera, N.L., Meza, E.L., Romero, A.J., & Rodriguez, R. (2013). If there is no struggle, there is no progress: Transformative youth activism and the School of Ethnic Studies. Urban Education Review. 45(1), 7-22.
Romero, A.J. (2012) Latin Active: A Pilot Test of the Latin Active Hip Hop Intervention to Increase Physical Activity Among Low-income Mexican American Adolescents. American Journal of Health Promotion. 26(4), 208-211.
Carvajal, S.C., Rosales, C., Rubio-Goldsmith, R., Sabo, S., Ingram, M., McClelland, J., Redondo, F., Torres, E., Romero, A.J., Ochoa O’Leary, A., Sanchez, Z., & Guernsey de Zapien, J. (2012). The Border Community and Immigration Stress Scale: A preliminary examination of a community responsive measure in two southwest samples. Journal of Immigrant Minority Health, 15(2), 427-436.
O'Leary, Anna Ochoa, Andrea J. Romero, Nolan L. Cabrera, and Michelle Rascón.
(2012). Assault on Ethnic Studies. In Santa Ana, O. & Gonzalez de Bustamante, C. (Eds.) Arizona Firestorm: Global Immigration Realities, National Media & Provincial Politics. Lanham, MD and New York: Rowman & Littlefield, pp.97-120.
O’Leary, A. & Romero, A.J. (2011) Undergraduate student’s engagement with Arizona Senate Bill 1108 “Anti-Ethnic Studies”: Influences of civic engagement, ethnic identity on well-being. Aztlan, 36, 9-36.
Romero, A.J. (2008). Orthogonal cultural identification theory. In F.T.L. Leong (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Counseling: Volume Four: Cross Cultural Counseling. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
Romero, A.J., Martínez, D. & Carvajal, S.C. (2007) Bicultural stress and adolescent risk behaviors in a community sample of Latinos and non-Latino European Americans. Ethnicity and Health. 12(5), 443-463.
Romero, A.J. & Carvajal, S.C., Valle, F., Orduña, M. (2007). Adolescent bicultural stress and its impact on mental well-being among Latinos, Asian Americans, and European Americans. Journal of Community Psychology, 35(4), 519-534.
Romero, A.J. & Ruíz, M.G. (2007). Does familism lead to increased parental monitoring?: Protective factors for coping with risky behaviors. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16, 143-154.
Romero, A.J. (2005). Low-income neighborhood barriers and resources for adolescents’ physical activity. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36(3), 253-259.
Romero, A.J., Robinson, T., Haydel, F., Mendoza, F. & Killen, J.D. (2004). Associations among familism, language preference, and education in Mexican American mothers and their children Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 25(1), 34-40.
Romero, A.J., and Roberts, R.E. (2003). The impact of multiple dimensions of ethnic identity on discrimination and adolescents’ self-esteem. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33(11), 2288-2305.
Romero, A.J. and Roberts, R.E. (2003). Stress within a bicultural context for adolescents of Mexican descent. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 9(2). 171-184.