Jennifer Kam

Department of Communication


Stress, Coping, and Resilience of Immigrant Youth; Culturally-Grounded Interpersonal Health Communication; Communication about Substance Use with Parents and Friends


My research examines the ways in which stressors—stemming from racial/ethnic identification, immigration, and acculturation—relate to immigrant and non-immigrant adolescents’ academic, mental, and physical well-being. Although many stressors exist, I focus on undocumented immigration status, interpreting for older family members, family separation/reunification, and perceived racial/ethnic discrimination. Not all adolescents who face such stressors inevitably experience reduced academic, mental, and physical well-being. And, it is important to note that interpreting for family members may not always function as a stressor, but in fact, can be beneficial. Consequently, much of my work utilizes a stress-resilience-thriving framework to identify psychological, individual action-oriented, and interpersonal communication processes that can attenuate the negative effects of stressors (i.e., buffer against the stress) and/or directly promote academic, mental, and physical well-being (i.e., thriving). I utilize quantitative and qualitative methods including longitudinal survey designs, semi-structured interviews, and more recently, videotaped interactions.

Jeniffer Kam's website