Amado M. Padilla

Amado Padilla

"For members of many ethnic groups with their own language, the language itself comes to be symbolic of the group's vitality and place in the world. For instance, we use the term "mother tongue" to signify the first language learned and or the language of the home. There is perhaps no greater way to express the importance that language has to a group than to equate it to the affection that we give our mothers! In other words, language, like a mother, provides the nurturance and stability so necessary for healthy development and fulfillment. Language gives meaning to an ethnic group because it connects the present with the past through its oral traditions, literary forms, music, history, and customs. In essence, it is frequently language which gives an ethnic group its distinctiveness."

- From my chapter "Psychology" in The Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity


I received my Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of New Mexico. I have taught at the State University of New York at Potsdam, University of California at Santa Barbara, UCLA, and Stanford University. Over the years I've written extensively on a wide variety of topics with approximately 180 journal articles and book chapters. Some of my books include: Crossing Cultures in Therapy [with Elaine LeVine] (1980), Acculturation: Theory, Models and Some New Findings (1980), Chicano Ethnicity [with Susan Keefe] (1987), Invitation to Psychology [with John Houston, C. Hammen, and Helen Bee] (1989), Foreign Language Education [with Hal Fairchild and Concepcion Valadez] (1991), Bilingual Education [with hal Fairchild and Concepcion Valadez] (1991), and Hispanic Psychology (1995). In 1979 I also became the founding editor of the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences (Sage Publications) now in its 27th year of publication. Currently, I am at work on a book on the use of quantitative research methods in multicultural contexts.

I have received a number of honors including a Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Education Research Association (1987), the Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education from the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (1989), Distinguished Contribution Through Research Award from Division 45 of the American Psychological Association (1990), Lifetime Achievement Award also from Division 45 of the APA (1996), and the 6th Annual Latino Behavioral Health Institute Award for Leadership, Innovation, and Dedication to the Advancement of Latino Behavioral Health Research (2000). I hold Fellow status in the American Psychological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

I have always tried to combine my academic interests with local school and community service. For instance, when my son was in high I served two terms as a high school PTA president. In addition, I was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Palo Alto Unified School District and served a four-year term. Over the years, I have served on numerous local, regional, and national boards dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth.

For recreation and leisure, I enjoy cooking, long runs, bike rides, and hikes with my friend and wife, Deborah, who is a tenth grade history teacher. We have three children: Diego now a college sophomore, Daphne a senior in high school, and Rocky who is in the eighth grade.

Educational Background

Professional Experience

Current Research Projects

Some of my current projects include:
  1. Development of models of psychological acculturation that incorporate social cognition and social identity theory.
  2. Academic resilience of students from backgrounds that place them at-risk for educational underachievement.
  3. Quantitative research methods for studying culturally diverse populations in multicultural contexts such as schools, social service clinics, ethnic communities, etc.
  4. Acquisition and use of bilingual competencies by children and adolescents.
  5. Professional development programs for foreign language teachers.

Courses Taught

Current Syllabus: Education 277

Selected Publications

Current Activities

Contact Information