Impact of trauma exposure and acculturative stress on internalizing symptoms for recently arrived migrant-origin youth: Results from a community-based partnership

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Julia Mendez, Professor (Creator)
Gabriela L. Stein, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Migrant youth face cultural challenges upon initial adjustment into the United States. Although there is considerable empirical evidence that trauma impacts interpersonal relations, there is a dearth of research examining the association between adverse events and the initial social and cultural exchange experience, and whether this is associated with psychological adjustment. This study examined self-report data for 87 newly arrived migrant-origin students in Grades 5–10 from Latin American, Caribbean, Asian, and African backgrounds attending a public alternative school in the Southeastern United States. Data were collected as part of a community-based partnership. The relation between cumulative trauma exposure and internalizing symptoms was fully mediated by acculturative stress (p < .05), suggesting prior trauma exposure negatively affected these students’ capacity to navigate a new cultural milieu, which in turn is directly associated with internalizing symptoms. Behavioral health care practitioners can use screening procedures early in the academic year to detect which migrant students may be experiencing difficult cultural transitions.

Additional Information

Journal of Community Psychology, 45(8), 984-998
Language: English
Date: 2017
immigrants, migrant youth, acculturative stress, cumulative trauma, community-based partnership

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