Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery; Scholarship of Community Application


This qualitative study sought to gain insight into the motivations, challenges, and behavior patterns of Latin American immigrant families in the Chicago, Illinois area, and can be divided into two parts: research and application. Research was collected by conducting focus group interviews with immigrant parents and children at three Nazarene Hispanic churches in and around Chicago. Questions were asked about the families’ reasons for immigrating and their stories of entry and arrival, but the interviews maintained a particular focus on the changes each family experienced while living in the United States. This study was especially interested to learn about communication patterns between family members, gender and occupational role changes in the new country, and acculturation differences between generations. In the interviews, one researcher worked with a group of five to ten people, posing questions for group discussion. Many times one person’s answer sparked a thought from another participant, so that shared feelings and experiences began to emerge. Through the process of thematic analysis of the recorded interviews, seven of the top struggles of interviewees were identified, including anxiety, changes in roles and identity, family leadership, and parent-child communication. The results of the research were applied to the creation of a series of small group studies for immigrant families, for use both in the churches where the interviews were conducted and elsewhere. One theme was selected per study, and paired with a relevant Biblical immigration narrative—the stories of Naomi and Joseph are two that were included— and pertaining anonymous quotes from the interviews. Questions designed to facilitate constructive conversation between families follow the scripture and quotes, to guide discussion and application of the material, and also allow for the exchange of advice and experience between participating families.


Honors Capstone Project completed in 2013 for Olivet Nazarene University.