The World Asked, Who am I?: A study focused on Latino Identity and Self Esteem

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Virginia Tech


This thesis explores the complex link between Latino individuals' self-esteem and media depictions. This thesis was created with the intent to fill a current gap in communication research by providing original data and addressing the lack of quantitative research surrounding the Latino community. The Latino Perceptions of Realism in TV and Film Scale was created as a new tool to measure opinions about ethno-cultural portrayal. This thesis aims to clarify how Latino people's self-esteem is shaped by the perceived realism of media depictions, drawing on Social Identity Theory and Social Learning Theory. This thesis examines how Latinos are portrayed in movies to determine how media exposure affects how the Latino population views their self-esteem. This study uses empirical analysis to further our understanding of the relationship between media portrayal, social identity development, and self-esteem in the Latino community. The thesis offers original quantitative data using a survey-based approach. It introduces the Latino Perceptions of Realism in TV and Film Scale, a new survey tool for gauging perceptions of Latino interpretations of television and film Latino characters. Regression analysis was employed to investigate how media depictions affect the development of self-esteem in the Latino population. Key findings provide insight into the complex relationships between media portrayal and the way Latinos view their ethnic group in film and television. Demographic factors such as age and gender, the amount of media consumption, intellectual capacity, and work ethic were revealed as important determinants impacting the development of Latino self-esteem. This study contributes new data to the discipline of media effects research, extending the conversation on the stereotypical representation of Latinos in television and film. It also provides insight into how Latinos view their self-esteem based on character portrayals in film and television.



Latino, Social Identity Theory, Social Learning Theory, Representation