Moderated Linguistic Acculturation On Economic and Occupational Stress Among People of Mexican Descent
A convenience sample of individuals self-identifying as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano/ca, or Hispanic/Latino/a of Mexican descent were recruited from a community college and a University in the Southwestern United States. Individuals were recruited across various class subjects. Approximately 644 individuals were approached, and N=314 usable surveys were returned resulting in a response rate of 48%.
The following instruments were utilized to measure the study variables: The Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (media, social relationships, and language subscales), the Economic and Occupational Stress subscale from the Hispanic Stress Inventory, and a modified version of the Personal Social Capital Scale.
The final model accounted for 20.6% of the variance in economic stress. Media (β=.40, p<.01), social (β=.-18, p<.05), and linguistic (β=-.19, p<.05) acculturation were all statistically significant in the final step of the model. The addition of the interaction term between linguistic and social acculturation resulted in a statistically significant change in R-squared (R2 =.013). The social capital gained from friends (β=-.24, p<.01) and community members (β=.22, p<.01) were the only statistically significant social capital variables. The Johnson-Neyman technique revealed that social acculturation values ranging from 1 to 2.80 produced statistically significant slope coefficients (ranging from -4.93 to -1.86) with lower social acculturation values and unit increases in linguistic acculturation producing larger negative effects on economic/occupational stress.
The findings from this study recognize the stressful intersection between various areas (e.g., language) affected by acculturation as well as protective and risk factors for stress that are associated with particular groups. Individuals with the lowest social and linguistic acculturation report the highest levels of economic and occupation stress with a reduction in stress observed with increases in social and linguistic acculturation. In addition, various group memberships through which social capital is gained also demonstrated competing effects with economic/occupational stress indicating that social network participation may not always serve as a protective factor. It is important that social work practitioners evaluate the conditional circumstances under which acculturation relates to stress as well as the groups through which social capital gained makes the most meaningful impact on specific life events.