206327 Stress & coping among Latina adolescents

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jessie Kemmick Pintor, BA , School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Carolyn Garcia, PhD, MPH, RN , School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Background: Mental health disorders in adolescence have a significant impact on young people themselves, their families, and society. Estimates suggest that one in five adolescents in the United States has a mental health condition. Rates of depressive symptoms and suicide ideation are high among high school students, with Latina adolescents reporting the highest rates among their peers. The etiologies behind this disparity are not well understood despite a need for understanding that informs effective interventions.

Objective: To explore the perceived stress, optimism, and coping patterns of Latina adolescents and potential predictors of emotional health.

Methods: Sixty-two Latina adolescents participating in a school-based stress/coping intervention completed a self-report instrument capturing demographics and emotional health through measures including A-COPE, PSS, and LOT.

Results: Sixty-four percent of participants reported high levels of stress. Sixty-one percent reported “moderate” levels of optimism, while 32% reported low to very low optimism. The most commonly reported coping strategies included being humorous (74%), developing social support (64%), investing in close friends (62%), engaging in demanding activity (54%), seeking diversions (54%), and developing self-reliance (53%). Level of stress, optimism, age, and family structure were significantly associated with coping behaviors.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that despite high reported levels of perceived stress in our sample, Latina adolescents may be able to cope by developing social support, turning to close friends, and/or developing self-reliance. Mental health interventions targeting Latina adolescents should promote positive coping strategies that build on internal and external assets and provide tools to further develop healthy coping behaviors.

Learning Objectives:
Identify three predictors of Latina adolescents' ability to cope effectively with life's stressors. Describe two study implications for future mental health promotion interventions with Latina adolescents.

Keywords: Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Latino Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have facilitated the intervention, and collected and analyzed data from participants
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Mental Health Poster Session I
See more of: Mental Health