Disentangling relationships between bicultural stress and mental well-being among Latinx immigrant adolescents


BACKGROUND: The Acculturative Process and Context Framework (Ward & Geeraert, 2016) proposes that acculturative stressors influence psychological well-being over time. In fact, extant literature has linked bicultural stress with psychological functioning; yet, no studies have explored the causal dominance of bicultural stress. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the directionality of prospective relations among bicultural stress and psychosocial functioning (i.e., depressive symptoms, hopefulness, and self-esteem) in Latinx immigrant adolescents across 5 waves. METHOD: There were 303 Latinx adolescents who were recruited for this study from Los Angeles and Miami and were assessed across 5 waves at 6-month intervals. Adolescents were 14.50 years old on average (SD = .88) and 53.16% were male. Adolescents reported living in the United States for 2.07 years on average (SD = 1.87). A Random-Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Model (RI-CLPM) was used to examine the between- and within-person relations among bicultural stress, depressive symptoms, hopefulness, and self-esteem in a comprehensive model. RESULTS: The comprehensive RI-CLPM including bicultural stress, depressive symptoms, hopefulness, and self-esteem exhibited excellent model fit. Between-person, trait-like relations among constructs ranged from small to large, as expected. Within-person, cross-lagged estimates among constructs were overall inconsistent, with some evidence that, within individuals, self-esteem influences later hopefulness. CONCLUSION: Findings from this study indicate that the RI-CLPM is an effective strategy to examine bicultural stress and well-being processes among adolescents. There is a need for further research examining bicultural stress among Latinx immigrant youth, particularly within prevention and intervention studies.

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology