Online Program

Latino Adolescents Coping with Racism: The Role of Ethnic Identity, Social Support, and Anger Regulation in the Discrimination—Depression Link

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Irene Park, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine - South Bend, South Bend, IN
Margarita Alegria, PhD, Psychiatry--Center for Multicultural MH Research, Harvard Medical School, Somerville, MA
Adelante Research Team, Indiana University School of Medicine - South Bend, South Bend, IN
Background: One major contributing factor to health disparities is racial/ethnic discrimination. As an acute or chronic stressor that can accumulate risk over time, discrimination has been consistently associated with poor mental health outcomes. Yet many questions remain unanswered regarding protective factors that can reduce the detrimental impact of discrimination on mental health, particularly in specific cultural contexts. Few studies of racism and health have focused on Latino youths, although they experience striking disparities (e.g., higher attempted suicide rates) and belong to the nation’s largest ethnic group. The present study tested racial/ethnic identity, social support, and anger regulation as three types of coping resources in the link between discrimination stress appraisals and mental health among Latino adolescents in the Midwest.

Methodology: Participants were 269 Mexican-origin adolescents recruited from public school systems, churches, and community-based organizations in the Midwest. Adolescents completed self-report surveys using an audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) approach. Multiple regression analyses were used to test for interaction effects of the 3 sets of hypothesized moderators (ethnic identity, social support, anger regulation) in the association between discrimination stress appraisals and depressive symptoms. Age, gender, and nativity status were controlled for in all analyses.

Results: As hypothesized, ethnic identity commitment and social support buffered youths against the adverse impact of discrimination stress appraisals on depressive symptoms; anger regulation was not a significant moderator.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that coping resources such as racial/ethnic identity and social support can help reduce the adverse impact of racial/ethnic discrimination on mental health among Latino adolescents.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify protective factors or coping resources that can reduce the adverse effect of racial/ethnic discrimination on depressive symptoms among Latino adolescents in the Midwest.

Keyword(s): Latinos, Child/Adolescent Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator on the NIH-funded study described in this abstract. I have been the principal investigator of two federally funded grants focusing on the mental health of minority immigrant adolescents in the Midwest. My scientific interests have focused on sociocultural contexts of mental health as well as sources of risk and resilience in immigrant populations.
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.

Back to: 5013.0: Poster: Health disparities