Abstract

Adolescent Latina mothers have the highest birthrate among all ethnic groups in the United States and are more likely to experience depressive symptoms, which can take a large toll on the adolescent mother’s psychological adjustment. Maladjustment of the mother can result in other negative outcomes, such as poor parenting, family functioning, and child development. The current study examined the acculturation gap between the adolescents and mothers and how it is associated with adolescents’ psychological distress. Acculturation is an important concept related to this population and is defined as the acceptance of a host culture. Culturally based misunderstandings between parents and children can contribute to a gap in cultural values, known as an acculturation gap. We hypothesized that a smaller gap between the adolescent and grandmother would be associated with lower psychological distress, and a larger gap would lead to higher distress.

Hierarchical linear regression analyses, controlling for acculturation level and perceived maternal support revealed that parent-child dyads with a smaller acculturation gap, had adolescents that had less psychological distress than dyads with a larger acculturation gap. Specifically, parent-child dyads in which the adolescents believed that the mother viewed them as too Americanized, had adolescents who experienced more psychological distress. Findings contribute to an important body of research on predictors of psychological adjustment among young Latina mothers that would inform intervention efforts for this at-risk population. Findings suggest that interventions should focus on overcoming intergenerational and intercultural conflict, promoting mutual understanding, and building skills that enhance communication.

Modified Abstract

Latina Adolescent mothers have the highest birthrate among all ethnic groups in the United States and are at higher risk of experiencing depressive symptoms. Maladjustment of the adolescent mother can result in other negative outcomes, such as poor parenting, family functioning, and child development. The current study examined the acculturation gap between adolescents and mothers and how it is associated with adolescents’ psychological distress. Results indicated that mother-child dyads in which the adolescent believed that the mother viewed them as too Americanized, had adolescents who experienced more psychological distress. Findings inform intervention efforts targeting depressive symptoms in this at-risk population. Findings suggest that interventions should focus on overcoming intergenerational and intercultural conflict, promoting mutual understanding, and building skills that enhance communication.

Research Category

Psychology

Primary Author's Major

Psychology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Josefina Grau

Mentor #2 Information

Ms. Aimee Hammer

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

21-3-2017 1:00 PM

Research Area

Developmental Psychology | Multicultural Psychology | Psychology

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Mar 21st, 1:00 PM

Effects of the Acculturation Gap on Psychological Distress Among Latina Adolescent Mothers

Adolescent Latina mothers have the highest birthrate among all ethnic groups in the United States and are more likely to experience depressive symptoms, which can take a large toll on the adolescent mother’s psychological adjustment. Maladjustment of the mother can result in other negative outcomes, such as poor parenting, family functioning, and child development. The current study examined the acculturation gap between the adolescents and mothers and how it is associated with adolescents’ psychological distress. Acculturation is an important concept related to this population and is defined as the acceptance of a host culture. Culturally based misunderstandings between parents and children can contribute to a gap in cultural values, known as an acculturation gap. We hypothesized that a smaller gap between the adolescent and grandmother would be associated with lower psychological distress, and a larger gap would lead to higher distress.

Hierarchical linear regression analyses, controlling for acculturation level and perceived maternal support revealed that parent-child dyads with a smaller acculturation gap, had adolescents that had less psychological distress than dyads with a larger acculturation gap. Specifically, parent-child dyads in which the adolescents believed that the mother viewed them as too Americanized, had adolescents who experienced more psychological distress. Findings contribute to an important body of research on predictors of psychological adjustment among young Latina mothers that would inform intervention efforts for this at-risk population. Findings suggest that interventions should focus on overcoming intergenerational and intercultural conflict, promoting mutual understanding, and building skills that enhance communication.