The Language of Acceptance: Spanish Proficiency and Perceived Intragroup Rejection Among Latinos

Diana T. Sanchez, George Chavez, Jessica J. Good, Leigh S. Wilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The present study examines perceived acceptance from one's ingroup (i.e., intragroup acceptance) and collective self-esteem among Latinos as a function of Spanish proficiency. Using a correlational design, Study 1 demonstrates that Latinos' (n = 53) Spanish-speaking inability is associated with lower private regard, membership, and less felt similarity to other Latinos, which was explained in part by greater perceptions of intragroup rejection. Moreover, Study 1 results were not moderated by overall Latino identification. Utilizing an experimental design, Study 2 demonstrates that non-Spanish-speaking Latinos (n = 40) put in a situation wherein they must disclose their inability to speak Spanish to another Latino were less likely to categorize themselves as Latinos, reported lower collective self-esteem, and reported less connectedness to other Latinos. These findings are discussed within a broader model of intragroup acceptance and identification, whereby cultural practices serve as markers of credibility that aid in felt acceptance within ethnic minority communities. Implications for acculturation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1019-1033
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


  • Latinos/Hispanics
  • bilingualism
  • intragroup acceptance
  • social identity


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