Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Are Latinx Youth Depressive Symptoms Related to family Functioning and Parental Acculturative Stress?

Event Title

Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) 2021 Virtual Convention

Event Location


Document Type


Presentation Date


Date Range

2021-11-16 to 2021-11-21


Introduction. Latinx youth report high prevalence rates of depression compared to other ethnic groups (CDC 1991–2017; Saluja et al. 2004). Family functioning has been shown to be related to depression in ethnic majority populations (Costello et al., 2002). Because familism, or the tendency to emphasize loyalty and the needs of the family before those of the individual (Pina-Watson et al., 2013), is a highly regarded cultural value in Latino populations, family functioning, such as family cohesion and family conflict, are culturally relevant constructs, which should be examined in relation to Latino youths’ depressive symptomatology. Intriguingly, research has also revealed that Latino immigrant parents tend to acculturate more slowly as adolescents tend to adopt U.S. values more quickly (Bacallao & Smokowski, 2007). This differing rate of acculturation may provide an additional source of stress and conflict for Latino families. Although research supports a relationship between Latino youth’s acculturative stress and their depressive symptoms (Polo & López, 2009), there is no research to date examining how parental acculturative stress may affect Latino youths’ depression. Thus, this study examined the associations between parent report of family functioning, parental acculturative stress, and youth depressive symptomatology in a clinical sample of Latino families.

Methods. Participants consisted of 47 parents of Latino decent who brought their children to a university-based clinic for psychological services. Participants’ ages ranged between 30-57 years (M=42), with children between the ages of 5-17 years (M=10). Participants completed a battery of measures to assess for youths’ depression, using the Revised Children’s Anxiety and Depression Scale-Parent, family functioning, utilizing the Brief Family Relationship Scale, and parental acculturative stress, with the Abbreviated Hispanic Stress Inventory-Immigrant Version.

Results. Correlation analyses for variables of interest indicated that family conflict, as well as occupational/economic, marital, immigration, and cultural-familial stress were significantly related (rs >.40, ps < .006). Hierarchal multiple regression analysis explained 41.1% of the variance in depressive symptoms. Specifically, income in the first step (β= -.36), family conflict (β= -.46) in the second step, and acculturative stress (β= .40) in the third step were all individual predictors of depressive symptoms. We also plan to test whether acculturative stress moderates the relationship between family functioning and youths’ depression.

Discussion. The present findings are consistent with existing literature, suggesting that higher family conflict was related with Latinx youth depression. By contrast, family cohesion did not provide any protective role. Moreover, the results demonstrated that while parents experience acculturative stress, this factor is detrimental to children’s mental health, regardless of the child’s age or gender. These findings further contribute to the literature with Latinx populations as the study was conducted with a clinical sample and based on parental reports, emphasizing the importance familism plays in this population.