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Padilla, Amado

Amado Padilla
Amado Padilla
Academic Title 
Other Titles 

Professor of Developmental and Psychological Sciences in Education
Faculty Advisor, California World Languages Project
Faculty Advisor, Stanford World Languages Project

Contact Information
Program Affiliations 
Research Interests 
Adolescent Development
Bilingual Education / ESL
Cultural Studies
Education and Migration
Foreign Language Instruction
Hispanic Issues in Education
Immigrant Issues
Language Acquisition
Language Policy
Research Design
Research Methods
Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)
Social Issues in Child and Adolescent Development

Current projects include: (a) the development of models of ethnic identity that incorporate social cognition theory and social identity; (b)acculturation stress and mental health status across three generations of Latinos; (c) home, school and community protective factors that empower Latino students to succeed academically; (d) learning of Mandarin by high school students in summer intensive programs vs. students in regular high school world language classes; and (e) student language and academic content learning in a Mandarin/English dual language immersion program.

Dr. Padilla's research follows three major strands: (1) resilient students who achieve high levels of academic performance despite coming from home and community backgrounds that pose multiple challenges to educational excellence, including adaptation to U.S. culture and English by immigrant adolescents; (2) acculturation and acculturation stressors that impact the physical and psychological well-being of newcomer youth and adults as well as the acquisition of bicultural strategies for functioning in their home culture and in mainstream American culture; and (3) studies involving second language learning and teaching, and strategies for achieving bilingual proficiency especially among heritage speakers of numerous European and Asian languages. He has published widely in his areas of research expertise.

Dr. Padilla is also interested in quantitative research in multicultural contexts. He serves as the principal investigator of the California World Language Project (CWLP), a program that assists California teachers in world language instruction. A final interest includes the history of ethnic minority scholars in psychology.

"For members of many ethnic groups with their own language, the language itself comes to be symbolic of the group's vitality and place in the world. For instance, we use the term "mother tongue" to signify the first language learned and/or the language of the home. There is perhaps no greater way to express the importance that language has to a group than to equate it to the affection that we give our mothers! In other words, language, like a mother, provides the nurturance and stability so necessary for healthy development and fulfillment. Language gives meaning to an ethnic group because it connects the present with the past through its oral traditions, literary forms, music, history, and customs. In essence, it is frequently language which gives an ethnic group its distinctiveness."

- From his chapter "Psychology" in The Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity

  • B.A., (Psychology) New Mexico Highlands University
  • M.S., (Experimental Psychology) Oklahoma State University
  • Ph.D., (Experimental Psychology) University of New Mexico

Since 1988.

Professor of Developmental and Psychological Sciences (1988 - ).

Assistant Professor of Psychology, State University of New York;

Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara;

Associate Professor to Full Professor of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles.

  • Education of Immigrant Students: Psychological Perspectives (ED 277)
  • Well-being in Immigrant Children and Youth: A Service Learning Course (ED 177; HumBio 29)
  • Adolescent Development and Learning (ED 240; HumBio 149)
  • Psychological and Educational Resilience Among Children and Youth (ED 256)
  • Adolescent Development and Schooling (ED 345)

Recent Publications

Educational Resilience

Cabrera, N. L., & Padilla, A. M. (2004).  Entering and succeeding in the “culture of  college”: The story of two Mexican heritage students. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 26, 152-156.

Borrero, N., Lee, D., & Padilla, A. M. (2012). Developing a culture of resilience for low- income immigrant youth. Urban Review, 45, 99-116. Online DOI: 1007/s11256-012-0215-4

Gonzalez, R., & Padilla, A. M. (in press). Positive psychology assessment among Latinos. In E. C. Chang, et al. Positive psychology in racial and ethnic minority groups: Theory, research, assessment, and practice. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Second Language/Bilingualism

Padilla, A. M. (2004). Rewarding workplace bilingualism.  Language Magazine: The Journal of Communication & Education. 2, 21-23.

Padilla, A. M. (2006). Second language learning: Issues in research and teaching. In P. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association. Pp. 571-591.

Xu, X., Padilla, A.M., & Silva, D. (2012). Time factor in Mandarin language learning: Four week intensive vs. regular high school semester. The Language Learning Journal, DOI:10.1080/09571736.2012.677054.

Xu, X., Padilla, A. M., Silva, D. M., Steele, T. M., & Peterson, M. D. (2010).  Professional Development for Teachers of Mandarin: Creating Career Pathways for New Teachers. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, 45, 31-52.

Xu, X., Padilla, A. M., Silva, D. M., & Masuda, N. (2012). A high school intensive summer Mandarin course: Program model and learner outcomes. Foreign Language Annals, 45, 622-638. DOI: 1007/s11256-012-0215-4.

Xu, X., & Padilla, A. M. (2013). Using meaning interpretation and chunking to enhance memory: The case of Chinese character learning. Foreign Language Annals, 46, 402-422. DOI: 10.1111/flan.12039

Padilla, A. M., Fan, L., Xu, X., & Silva, D. (2013). Mandarin/English two-way immersion program: Language proficiency and academic achievement. Foreign Language Annals, 46, 661-679.  DOI: 10.1111/flan.12060

Xu, X., Padilla, A. M., & Silva, D. (2015). Learner Performance in Mandarin Immersion and High School World Language Programs: A Comparison. Foreign Language Annals, 48, 26-38. DOI: 10:1111/flan.12123

Acculturation/Acculturative Stress

Padilla, A. M., & Perez, W. (2003). Acculturation, social identity, and social cognition: A new perspective. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 25, 35-55.

Padilla, A. M.(2006). Bicultural social development.  Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 28, 467-497.

Padilla, A. M. (2008). The need to be ethnic: The role of perceived discrimination in ethnic identity. In C. Willis Esqueda (Ed.), Motivational Aspects of Prejudice and Racism. Nebraska Series on Motivation, Volume 53. New York: Springer Press.(Pp.7–42).

Padilla, A. M. (2009). My life in fast forward: Reflections on the making of a Latino psychologist. In J. G. Ponterotto, J. M. Casas, L. A. Suzuki, & C. M. Alexander. (Eds.). Handbook of multicultural counseling (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (Pp. 45-54).

Padilla, A. M. (2009). Developmental processes related to intergenerational transmission of culture: Growing up with two cultures in the United States. In U. Schonpflug (Ed.), Cultural transmission: Developmental, psychological, social, and methodological perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Pp. 185–   211).

Cervantes, R. C., Goldbach, J. T., & Padilla, A.M. (2012). Using qualitative methods for revising items in the Hispanic Stress Inventory. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 34, 208-231.

Cervantes, R. C., Padilla, A. M., Napper, L. E., & Goldbach, J. (2013). Acculturation related-stress and mental health outcomes among three generations of Hispanic Adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 35, 451-468. DOI:10.1177/07399986313500924

Lee, D. S., & Padilla, A. M. (2014). Acculturative stress and coping: Gender differences among Korean and Korean American university students. Journal of College Student Development, 55, 243-262.  DOI: 10.1353/csd.2014.0625

  • Principal Investigator, California Foreign Language Project
  • Member, Board of Directors, DreamCatchers
  • Former Member, Board of Directors, EdSource
  • Editor, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences