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:
1. What is the bicultural context of stress and coping for Mexican American adolescents? How does the bicultural context influence mental health, risky health behaviors, and educational outcomes?
2. What is the role of family and community to close the education opportunity gap for Mexican American students?
3. How can youth-community based participatory action research projects influence health and educational outcomes of low-income Mexican American youth?
Areas of Expertise
- Community-based Youth Participatory Action Research
- Adolescence health and well-being
- Poverty and sociocultural Influences
- Family influence on adolescent health and education
- Processes of adolescent resilience
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, Equality and Civic Participation: Examining Profiles of Critical Social Analysis of Inequality. Spencer Foundation. 2017-2019.
- Principal Investigator, ASPIRE: Afterschool Program Innovation, Reflection and Education. Virginia C. Piper Foundation.
- 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.
- Professional Development (FSHD 696z)
- Lifespan Development (FSHD 117)
- Research Methods in Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD 507A/FSHD 507B)
- Advanced Topics in Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD 496z)
- Chicano/a Psychology (undergraduate) (MAS/FSHD 280)
Here are some recent selected publications by Dr. Romero.
Romero, A., Bauman, S., Kim, S.E., (2018). Ten-Year Trends in Suicidality, Bullying and Gun Carrying Among Latino Youth. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(4), 450-
Romero, A. J., Piña-Watson, B., & Toomey, R. B. (2017). When Is Bicultural Stress Associated With Loss of Hope and Depressive Symptoms? Variation by Ethnic Identity Status Among Mexican Descent Youth. Journal Of Latina/O Psychology, 6(1), 49- doi:10.1037/lat0000078
Lorenzo‐Blanco, E. I., Meca, A., Unger, J. B., Romero, A., Szapocznik, J., Piña‐Watson, B., & ... Schwartz, S. J. (2017). Longitudinal effects of Latino parent cultural stress, depressive symptoms, and family functioning on youth emotional well‐being and health risk behaviors. Family Process, 56(4), 981-996. doi:10.1111/famp.12258
Lorenzo‐Blanco, E. I., Meca, A., Piña‐Watson, B., Zamboanga, B. L., Szapocznik, J., Cano, M. Á., & ... Schwartz, S. J. (2017). Longitudinal trajectories of family functioning among recent immigrant adolescents and parents: Links with adolescent and parent cultural stress, emotional well‐being, and behavioral health. Child Development, doi:10.1111/cdev.12914
Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J. B., Meca, A., Lorenzo-Blanco, E. I., Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Cano, M. Á., Piña-Watson, B., Szapocznik, J., Zamboanga, B., Cordova, D. Romero, A. & ... Pattarroyo, M. (2017). Personal identity development in Hispanic immigrant adolescents: Links with positive psychosocial functioning, depressive symptoms, and externalizing problems. Journal Of Youth And Adolescence, 46(4), 898-913. doi:10.1007/s10964-016-0615-y
Romero, A.J. , Anguas, M.M.,+ O’Leary, A., Covarrubias, R.+ (2017). Collective efficacy for community change in response to immigrant stigma stress. Aztlán.42(1), 19-44.
Romero, A.J., Bauman, S., Ritter, M. & Anand, P. (2017). The Influence of Gun Carrying and Bullying on Adolescent Suicidal Behaviors. Journal of School Violence. 16(4), 445-458.
Romero, A.J. & Piña-Watson, B. (2017). Acculturative stress and bicultural stress: Psychological measurement and mental health. In S. Schwartz and J. Unger (Eds.). Handboook of Acculturation and Health. Oxford Handbook.
Lorenzo-Blanco, E. I., Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J. B., Romero, A. J., Cano, M. Á., Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Cordova, D., Oshri, A., Santisteban, D.A., Des Rosiers, S., Huang, S., Villamar, J.A., Soto, D. & Pattarroyo, M. (2016). A process-oriented analysis of parent acculturation, parent socio-cultural stress, family processes, and Latina/o youth smoking and depressive symptoms. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 52, 60-71.
Cano, M. A., Schwartz, S. J., Castillo, L. G., Romero, A. J., Huang, S., Lorenzo-Blanco, E. I., Unger, J. B., Zamboanga, B. L., Des Rosiers, S. E., Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Lizzi, K. M., Soto, D. W., Oshri, A., Villamar, J. A., Pattarroyo, M., & Szapocznik, J. (2015). Depressive symptoms and externalizing behaviors among Hispanic immigrant adolescents: Examining longitudinal effects of cultural stress. Journal of Adolescence, 42, 31-39.
Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J.B., Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Zamboanga, B.L., Lorenzo-Blanco, E., De Rosiers, S., Romero, A.J., Cano, M.A.,Gonzales-Backen, M.A., Cordova, D., Pina-Watson, B.M.; Huang, S., Villamar, J.A., Soto, D.W., Pattarroyo, M., & Szapocznik,J. (in press). Trajectories of cultural stressors and effects on mental health and substance use among recently arrived Hispanic adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health.
Romero, A.J. & O’Leary, A.O. (2014). 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.) Raza Studies: The Public Option for Educational Revolution (pp.91-106). Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press. (Invited chapter with new empirical data)
Romero, A.J. Edwards, L., Corkery, S.+ (2013). Assessing and treating Latinos: Overview of mental health research. In. F. Paniagua and A-M. Yamada (Ed.) Handbook of Multicultural Mental Health: Assessment and treatment of diverse populations (pp.327-343). San Diego: Academic Press. (Invited theoretical review).
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.
Santiago-Rivera, A., Cardemil, E., Prieto, L. & Romero, A.J. (2013). Welcome to the Journal of Latina/o Psychology: Vision and Evolution. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 1(1), 1-2.
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., Edwards, L. & Orduña, M. (2011). Multiracial feminist framework: Influence of social power structures on mental health of Latina adolescents. In Cabrera, N. & Villarruel, F. (Eds.). Latina and Latino Children’s Mental Health (pp.159-184). (Invited theoretical review). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishing.
Russell, S. & Romero, A.J. (2011). Sexual orientation and identity in Latino/a youth: Implications for mental health. In Cabrera, N. & Villarruel, F. (Eds.). Latina and Latino Children’s Mental Health. (pp.133-157). (Invited theoretical review) Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishing.
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., 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.