Category: Cultural Diversity / Vulnerable Populations
Previous research has documented significant differences between U.S.-born and foreign-born Latinos (Alegria et al., 2009). Most research has focused on mental health conditions and risky behaviors, including suicidal ideation and behavior (Pena et al, 2008). In addition, risk factors such as acculturative stress have consistently been found to predict negative outcomes, yet have not been systematically studied across nativity groups. Higher levels of acculturative stress and loneliness have been found among 1st generation youth, relative to their 2nd and 3rd generation counterparts (Torres 2014; Polo & Lopez, 2009). This study aims to examine the relationship between acculturative stress and loneliness and the potential role that nativity may play in this relation.
A total of 557 predominately Latino (86.9%) and mixed ethnicity students (10.2%) from six public schools in Chicago completed a survey as part of a longitudinal study. Students were in 5th, (23.7%), 6th (50.3%), and 7th grade (26.0%) and were 53.0% female. Measures included the Acculturation Stress Measure (Vega, et al., 1993) and the Loneliness Scale (Asher, et al., 1984). First (foreign-born student) (n=40; 7.2%), second (both parents foreign-born) (n=324; 58.2%), and third generation (at least one U.S.-born parent) (n=193,34.6%) were represented, but 1st and 2nd generation samples were combined for analyses due to low numbers among immigrant youth.
A one way ANOVA was conducted and statistically significant differences were found across nativity groups for acculturative stress, F(1, 555) = 13.288, p < .001. Higher acculturative stress was found among 1st/2nd generation youth, relative to 3rd generation youth. In contrast, no generation differences were found for loneliness. Regression analyses evaluated the moderation effects of nativity on the relation between acculturative stress and loneliness. A significant interaction was found (F(3, 546) = 37.56, p < .05). Third generation youth were more likely to report loneliness as their acculturative stress scores increased, relative to 2nd/1st generation students.
Nativity is a critical variable to consider in the study among ethnic minority youth, including Latinos. In this study, first and second generation students reported higher levels of acculturative stress. However, 3rd generation youth who were most affected by acculturative stress, when considering their levels of loneliness. Future research should unpack the dimensions of acculturative stress to more specifically examine which are associated with maladaptive outcomes (e.g., discrimination, language difficulties). Furthermore, investigating protective factors that may be present for each of the nativity groups would help understand ways to best prevent and ameliorate their distress.
Dulce Diaz– Research Assistant, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Maria Valenzuela– Research Assistant, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Jazmin Lara– Research Assistant, DePaul University
Ivan Zelic– Research Assistant, DePaul University
Alyssa Mall– Clinical PhD Student, DePaul University
Antonio Polo– Associate Professor, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois