The Influence of Cultural Context on Risk, Resilience, and Mental Health on Emerging Latino Adults

Doctoral Dissertation


Informed by the cultural-ecological-transactional (CET) theoretical model (Kuperminc et al., 2009), the present study investigated culture-specific risk and resilience processes and mental health among Latino emerging adults in the United States. Specifically, the acculturation gap and perceived discrimination were identified as culture-specific risk factors and hypothesized to be linked to worse mental health outcomes (i.e., depressive symptoms, anxiety, alcohol use). Perceived discrimination was hypothesized to exacerbate the gap-mental health link. Bicultural competence was hypothesized to buffer the gap-mental health association; familism and family support were hypothesized to buffer the discrimination-mental health link. Participants were 299 Latino emerging adults, and data were collected using an online survey. Most notably, the acculturation gap (communication breakdowns) was associated with depressive symptoms, and bicultural competence (communication ability) buffered the impact of communication breakdowns on depressive symptoms and anxiety, respectively. The present study highlights the significance of the cultural context in investigating risk and resilience factors at different ecological levels among Latino emerging adults. It also provides insight for clinicians working with Latino emerging adults on how to help them deal with culture-specific risk factors and draw upon culturally-relevant sources of resilience.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-07112014-012305

Author May Kim
Advisor Kristin Valentino
Contributor Kristin Valentino, Committee Member
Contributor E. Mark Cummings, Committee Member
Contributor Scott M. Monroe, Committee Co-Chair
Contributor Irene J.K. Park, Committee Co-Chair
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Defense Date
  • 2013-06-11

Submission Date 2014-07-11
  • United States of America

  • risk and resilience

  • mental health

  • acculturation

  • emerging adulthood

  • Latino

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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