Examination of Cultural Adaptation and Depression in Hispanic Adults Who Immigrated to the U.S. As Youth
Method: A secondary analysis of the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) was conducted. The NLASS is a cross-sectional study providing information on mental illness and service-use among Latinos and Asian-Americans collected between May 2002 and November 2003. The NLAAS provides a nationally representative sample of Latinos and Asian-Americans in the United States. The current study collected data from Latinos born outside the U.S. who immigrated to the U.S. by age 17 (N = 581). Recursive regression was conducted to examine the relationship of the independent variables to number of depressive symptoms experienced. Binomial logistic regression was performed to examine the relationship of the independent variables to a diagnosis of major depressive episode.
Results: Recursive regression results showed that dissonant acculturation (β = .18, p <.001) and gender (β = .13, p <.01) were the strongest predictors of number of depressive symptoms. Family cohesion was shown to reduce dissonant acculturation (β = -.528, p<.001). Binomial logistic regression results showed that subjective social status (β = -.12, p <.01) and gender (β = 1.09, p <.01) were predictive of a diagnosis of major depressive episode.
Implications: The results indicate that families play an important role in the cultural adaptation process. Dissonant acculturation or parent-child value differences that arise from acculturation, contribute to the number of depressive symptoms reported by the child. Simultaneously, family cohesion may reduce the effects of dissonant acculturation. By increasing family cohesion it may be possible to reduce dissonant acculturation and possibly symptoms of depression. The risk-factors which contributed to the number of depressive symptoms did not necessarily contribute to a diagnosis of major depressive episode. This may be due to the differences in complexity of symptom count and a diagnosis, or may be attributable to some unseen phenomena and deserves further examination. Still, mental health practitioners should be aware that family conflict may result in more depressive symptomology, and that these problems are may lead to depression among females.