Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Social Support as a Mental Health Predictor for Cuban-Americans

Event Location / Date(s)

Miami, Florida, USA / 2019-10-17 - 2019-10-20

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name / Publication Title

2019 NPLA (National Latinx Psychological Association) Conference


Although Cubans share many commonalities with other Hispanics, the Cuban community also has distinct characteristics that impact their mental health. Notably, the historical circumstances in which their immigration has taken place have shaped the availability of social support for these individuals. Initially, this review aimed to explore differences in social support and its links with mental health across Cuban immigration waves; however, due to the lack of research in this population, the review was expanded to comparisons between Cubans and other ethnic minorities. The first part focuses on the historical circumstances related to contexts of sending and reception of Cuban immigration to the U.S. The second part offers two theoretical approaches as tools for understanding how social support has developed and functions for Cubans after immigration. Lastly, research findings on links between social support and mental health among Cubans are presented. Most studies found that Cubans tend to experience more social support than other Latino and non-Latino groups. Moreover, within the Cuban migration waves, later arrivals experience less social support than earlier arrivals. Family and friend support appeared to be the most beneficial sources of social support to psychological wellbeing. In contrast, results for support for significant others and religious involvement were more inconsistent. Finally, Cuban women tended to benefit less from support in comparison with other Latinas. Future research should differentiate between males or females as recipients when investigating social support to mental health links. Clinicians working with the Cuban community, particularly in South Florida, should increase their cultural sensitivity and knowledge regarding the migration process of this ethnic group as well as to understand how their social support system adds or detracts from their mental health.