Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

Major Professor

Katherine Greenberg

Committee Members

Mark Hector, Howard Pollio, Schuyler Huck


The present dissertation is based on a phenomenological study on undocumented Mexican immigrant mothers of high school students who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and received social services. Most of these mothers have emigrated from rural areas of the central and southern Mexican States of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Queretaro, among others. According to the participants, socio-economic conditions forced them to leave their homelands hoping to find a better life in the U.S.

Ten undocumented mothers of high school students living in the U.S. were interviewed from a phenomenological perspective. They were monolingual Spanish speakers (only one mother spoke a native Mexican dialect as a first language and Spanish as a second language), parents of several children, and unskilled laborers with little formal education. This research explored the experiences of these mothers, their beliefs and values, and their relationship with their children’s school and the community in general. The study confirmed some of the outcomes presented in the literature review and revealed other findings that are critical to the development of school and social service programs.

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