Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Considering how the Acculturation Process Affects Family Relations and Child Mental Health Outcomes in Latino Families

Event Title

2019 NLPA (National Latinx Psychological Association) Conference: Nuestra Lucha Continúa

Event Location

Miami, Florida, USA

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Presentation Date


Date Range

2019-10-17 to 2019-10-20


The process of acculturation may affect how Latino families interact and respond to their children. Acculturation has been defined as the process of adaptation that occurs when an individual or groups come into contact with a different culture (Berry, 2003). Acculturating to the American culture has been associated with erosion of Latinx cultural values (Gil et al., 2000) as well as with acculturative stress (Cervantes & Cordova; 2011). Family models examining acculturation processes have found that parents tend to acculturate to the American culture at a slower pace than their children, often creating friction and increasing family conflict and reducing family unity or cohesion (Dumka, Roosa, & Jackson, 1997; Felix-Ortiz, Fernandez, & Newcomb, 1998; Szapocznik, Kurtines, & Fernandez, 1980). These factors, as a result, increase the risk for externalizing behavior problems in youth (Pasch et al., 2006). Other research suggests that parents experiencing acculturative stress may become more controlling of their children as a way to protect them from unfamiliar or possibly dangerous experiences (Luis et al, 2008). However, overcontrolling and overprotective parent behavior has been found to be associated with anxiety symptoms in youth (McLeod et al., 2003). Therefore, various family dynamics and parent behaviors have been implicated in poor mental health outcomes for Latinx youth. Understanding how cultural processes affect family processes is important for providing effective psychosocial and preventive interventions with Latinx populations.