Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

Committee Chair

John C. Meyer

Committee Chair Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 2

Kathryn Anthony

Committee Member 2 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 3

Steven J. Venette

Committee Member 3 Department

Communication Studies


Immigration is a long-standing topic of discussion in the United States. Hispanic immigrants, or families of Hispanic immigrants, living in America face unique challenges. Through focus group interviews, participants from a predominantly Hispanic Protestant church narrated their experience of living in the United States. Guided grounded theory data analysis revealed three categories and 14 subcategories, or themes of conversation, surrounding this hot topic. Participants shed light on the distinctive challenges they faced, how these challenges affected them, and how they attempted to overcome these difficulties. By exploring these results through the lens of social stigma theory (Goffman, 2009) and intergroup contact theory (Pettigrew, 1998; Berg, 2009), the current research illuminated the marginalization of this population. Ultimately, participants narrated that the challenges that they face are far outweighed by the opportunities they are given, showing potential for how communication can help to overcome the marginalization of the Latino population.