Category: Cultural Diversity / Vulnerable Populations
Externalizing disorders account for the largest proportion of service costs in rural adolescents (Costello et al., 2007). Perceived discrimination has been associated with externalizing behaviors in minority adolescents (Gaylord-Harden & Cunningham, 2009), yet these effects have not been sufficiently studied in rural Latinos. Additionally, family factors, such as familism and parent-child conflict have been found to mediate the relationship between discrimination and aggression in Latino adolescents (Smokowski & Bacallao, 2006). We sought to characterize the relationship between discrimination and externalizing symptoms, as well as the ways in which family factors mediate this relationship in a sample of Latino adolescents living in a rural community.
Data were collected from a 462 rural Latino youth (M age =15.75 yrs. SD=1.22yrs, 51% male) as part of a larger study examining predictors of risk and resilience to psychopathology. Youth completed self-report measures about perceived discrimination using the Societal, Attitudinal, Familial, and Environmental Acculturative Stress Scale for Children (Fuertes, 1999), their family values using the Familism Scale (Gil & Vega 1996), Family Conflict (FC) using the Family Relationship Inventory (Hoge et al., 1989), and externalizing symptoms using the Youth Self Report (Achenbach, 1991).
The relationship between discrimination and externalizing symptoms was mediated by both familism and FC. The standardized regression coefficient between discrimination and externalizing symptoms was significant, β= 3.16, t(3.75), p= < .0001. Standardized regression coefficients between discrimination and familism β= -3.40, t(-5.91), p= < .0001, and discrimination and FC β= -.97, t(-4.90), p= < .0001 were statistically significant, as were the standardized regression coefficients between familism and externalizing symptoms β= -.50, t(-8.05), p= < .0001, and FC and externalizing symptoms β= -1.40, t(-10.05), p= < .0001. We tested the significance of this indirect effect using bootstrapping procedures. Unstandardized indirect effects were computed for each of 10,000 bootstrapped samples, and the 95% confidence interval was computed by determining the indirect effects at the 2.5th and 97.5th percentiles. The bootstrapped unstandardized indirect effect was 1.70 for familism, and 1.43 for FC, and the 95% confidence interval ranged from [1.06, 2.52] and [.82, 2.12], respectively. Thus, the indirect effects were statistically significant. These findings indicate that the relationship between discrimination and externalizing symptoms may be accounted for by adolescent sense of shared family values and FC. Further, positive family factors may serve to mitigate the impact of discrimination on externalizing symptoms in Latino adolescents.
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California