Shame and depressive symptoms in Latino youths: when are cultural values a risk and when are they protective?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Yesenia Mejia (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Gabriela Stein

Abstract: Research has shown that Latino adolescents report higher levels of depressive symptoms compared to youths from other ethnic backgrounds (Twenge & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2002; Kessler et al., 1994). Despite these risks, there is consensus in the literature that the endorsement of familial cultural values (e.g., strong attachment to family, reciprocated loyalty and obligation, and deference for adults) serves as a protective factor and predicts positive outcomes in Latino youths and their families (Stein et al., 2014). Some research studies, however, have highlighted that familial cultural value endorsement can also act as a potential risk factor for Latino youths within high-risk contexts (Zayas, Kaplan, Turner, Romano, & Gonzalez-Ramos, 2000). Although familial cultural values are critical in understanding risk and resilience processes in Latino youths, few studies have investigated the emotional mechanisms through which they promote positive or negative outcomes. The present study examined the relation between the endorsement of familial cultural values and depressive symptoms testing whether shame served to mediate this relation in the context of low grades and high levels of externalizing symptoms. As hypothesized, results demonstrated a negative association between familial cultural values and depressive symptoms. Contrary to hypotheses, however, academic achievement and externalizing symptoms failed to moderate the relationship between familial cultural values and depressive symptoms. Further, shame failed to mediate this relationship. Understanding the emotional underpinnings of these crucial cultural values has implications for the development of prevention and intervention programs aimed at fostering resilience in Latino youths. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Depression, Familism, Latino youths, Resilience, Risk, Shame
Hispanic American teenagers $x Mental health
Families $x Psychological aspects
Values $x Psychological aspects
Depression in adolescence
Shame in adolescence

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