Category: Child / Adolescent - Depression

PS14- #A16 - The Relationship Between Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms Among Rural Latino Adolescents: Moderating Effect of Spirituality

Saturday, Nov 18
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adolescent Depression | Spirituality and Religion | Hispanic American/ Latinx

Background: Prior research suggests that religiosity, spirituality, and experiences of discrimination influence the development of depressive symptoms. (Bowen-Reid & Harrell, 2002). Further, spirituality over and above that of religiosity has been shown to be associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms (Cotton et al., 2005). However, few studies have examined religiosity and spirituality among Latino adolescents who often report higher depressive symptoms than their peers (Katragadda & Tidwell, 1998). The present study examines whether the endorsement of spirituality in a rural Latino adolescent population moderates the association between perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms. We hypothesize that there will be an association between perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms and that this association will be moderated by spirituality; with higher rates of spirituality associated with less depressive symptoms.  

Latino high school participants (n = 526; Mage = 15.75, SD = 1.22; 49% female, 51% male) were sampled from a high school in rural Southern California. Participants completed the Societal, Attitudinal, Familial, and Environmental Acculturative Scale that contains a discrimination subscale (Mena, Padilla, & Maldonado, 1987), the Short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire (Angold et al., 1995), and the Child and Youth Resilience Measure with a spirituality subscale (Liebenberg, Ungar, & Van de Vijver, 2012).

The hierarchical multiple regression revealed that at block one, Sex and Age contributed significantly to the regression model, F (2, 4 61) = 8.21, p< .001 and accounted for 3.4% of the variation in depressive symptoms. Introducing the discrimination and spirituality variables explained an additional 17% of variation in depressive symptoms and this change in R2 was significant, F (2, 459) = 48.35, p < .001. Finally, the addition of the interaction term to the regression model explained an additional .7% of the variation in depression and this change in R2 square was also significant, F (1,458) = 4.31, p < .05. When all five independent variables were included, the full model accounted for a total of 20% of the variation in depressive symptoms and was significant F (5, 458) = 24.31, p  < .001.  All predictors except for age accounted for significant variation in the model, with the most important being discrimination followed by spirituality.

Results from this study indicate the need to explore spirituality as a protective factor for mental health outcomes among rural Latino adolescents. This may also provide insight into how spirituality may be integrated into interventions that seek to address mental health issues among rural Latino adolescents. Clinicians should also be advised to inquire about the experience of discrimination when working with Latino youth. 

Kimberly L. Henriquez

University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

Louise Dixon

Doctoral Student
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

Denise A. Chavira

Associate Professor
University of California - Los Angeles