Publication Date

2015-06-25

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2017-06-24

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2015-05-13

First Committee Member

Annette M. La Greca

Second Committee Member

Alan Delamater

Third Committee Member

Amanda Jensen-Doss

Abstract

In the US, Hispanic/Latino youth are at especially high risk for experiencing anxiety and depression. Acculturative stress is one factor that has been linked to anxiety/depressive symptoms in Hispanic/Latino youth but few studies have explored factors that may influence this relationship. The current study examined (a) the relationship between acculturative stress and anxiety/depressive symptoms within a diverse sample of Hispanic/Latino youth, and (b) risk (age, gender, and parental SES) and protective (family function, friend support, and ethnic identity) factors that may moderate the relationship between acculturative stress and anxiety/depressive symptoms. Participants were 1,466 Hispanic/Latino youth, ages 8-16 years (M=11.85, SD=2.52), whose parents participated in a larger study. Children completed measures of anxiety, depression, acculturation, acculturative stress, family functioning, friend support, and ethnic identity. Results from hierarchical linear regressions supported the relationship between acculturative stress and anxiety/depressive symptoms. For the entire sample, older age was associated with more anxiety from acculturative stress, and better family functioning was associated with lower depressive symptoms from acculturative stress. However, other interactions were not significant. Follow-up exploratory analyses indicated that when foreign-born youth were considered alone, older age continued to be associated with more anxiety symptoms from acculturative stress. For first generation youth, parent education moderated the association between acculturative stress and depressive symptoms. Parents with less than or more than a high school education reported greater depression related to acculturative stress than those with a high school education. In addition, better family functioning and greater ethnic identity buffered the negative effects of acculturative stress on anxiety, but not depressive symptoms. Results of this study help to better understand mechanisms through which Hispanic/Latino youth may experience adverse mental health problems. Future studies might focus on the long-term effects of acculturative stress on internalizing symptoms and further exploration of risk and resilience factors that may impact mental health in Hispanic/Latino children.

Keywords

acculturative stress; Hispanic/Latino; youth; anxiety; depression

Share

COinS