Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Glinda J. Rawls

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen E. Craig

Third Advisor

Dr. Chien-Juh Gu


Intragroup marginalization, Latinx, college students, counseling, counselor education, mental health


The Latinx population is the fastest-growing racial minority group in the United States (U.S.) (Passel et al., 2014). There are nearly 2 million migrant families in the U.S. (Tippett, 2020). Most migrant families live below the poverty level, and children often provide significant supplemental income to that of their parents’ (Zalaquett et al., 2007). Many migrant families are faced with various challenges, such as secluded living conditions, financial instability, physical and mental health barriers, and educational barriers (Dreby, 2015; Thompson et al., 2002; BPHC, 1995). In addition, migrant students frequently find themselves in a dilemma between providing financial assistance to their families and attending classes regularly (Prewitt-Diaz & Trotter, 1990). Several studies include Latinx college students in journals of higher education, addictions, and psychology; however, there is a dearth of studies that research the migrant college student population in counseling journals (Cano et al., 2014; Carrera & Wei, 2014; Castillo, 2009; Castillo et al., 2006; Llamas & Ramos-Sánchez, 2013; Morgan Consoli et al., 2016; Sanchez et al., 2018). Furthermore, only five of those studies on Latinx college students have implications for counselors. The purpose of this phenomenological research study was twofold: 1) to explore the intragroup marginalization experiences of Latinx migrant college students and 2) to understand the impact of intragroup marginalization on the mental health of Latinx migrant college students in Michigan. Michigan was selected as the location for this study because it is one of three states that is ranked top 10 of specialty crops (of most value) in the nation (Mercier, 2014). The Midwest region accounts for a significant part of American agriculture.

This qualitative study sought to explore three research questions: (1) how do Latinx migrant college students cope with stressors in college, (2) do Latinx migrant college students experience intragroup marginalization, and (3) does intragroup marginalization have an impact on the mental health of Latinx migrant college students? Semi-structured interviews with 10 Latinx migrant college students in Michigan revealed six emerging themes that captured their experiences: (1) dealing with negative emotions: reaching out, (2) dealing with negative emotions: turning inward, (3) two different worlds, (4) intragroup marginalization, (5) supportive connections, and (6) not a big deal. Implications for counselors and counselor educators are offered, and suggestions for future directions are given.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access