Date of Graduation

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department/Program

International and Multicultural Education

First Advisor

Stephen Cary

Second Advisor

Emma Fuentes

Third Advisor

Lois Lorentzen

Abstract

Before this study, little research existed on the coping behaviors of day laborers. To bolster the research in this area, my study explored the coping behaviors of day laborers. My participants were 12 Latin American day laborers from Guatemala and Mexico who, at the time of the study, lived in San Mateo, California. I used a qualitative approach for my study and gathered information on how my participants coped with the day-to-day experiences of day labor life. This involved background interviews, stressor questionnaire, group interview, in-depth individual interviews, and a follow-up to the stressor questionnaire. This study revealed that participants experienced the following stressors: lack of English, lack of employment/low income, family separation, lack of medical care, and fear of deportation. The study also showed that participants coped with these stressors using the following coping strategies: relying on friends, taking active control, passive acceptance, keeping a positive attitude, and faith in God. The research revealed a vulnerable group with limited resources. My study concludes with recommendations for municipal, state, and federal policy makers as well as recommendations for future research in the following areas: sample and timeframe, family separation, border crossing, perception studies, quantitative and qualitative case studies.

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