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14-10-2017 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 1/2018

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 1/2018

Acculturation Gap Distress among Latino Youth: Prospective Links to Family Processes and Youth Depressive Symptoms, Alcohol Use, and Academic Performance

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 1/2018
Rajni L. Nair, Kathleen M. Roche, Rebecca M. B. White


Latino youth have higher rates of educational and mental health difficulties compared to peers from other racial/ethnic groups. To understand the factors related to such maladjustment, a mediational model linking youth report of parent-youth acculturation gaps to prospective changes (from spring to fall semester) in youth report of academic performance, depressive symptoms and alcohol use via youth report of parent-youth conflict and family cohesion, was studied in a sample of 248 U.S.—and foreign—born Latino youth (Mage = 15.21 years; 50% female; 67% U.S.-born). Parent-youth acculturation gaps were associated with changes in youth academic performance across two semesters via their negative impact on family functioning. For U.S.-born youth, parent–youth acculturation gaps were also linked to changes in alcohol use via parent-adolescent conflict. Results provide some support for the acculturative gap hypotheses while unique findings across nativity groups suggest that such individual-level characteristics may serve as important sources of variation for Latino youth.

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