Longitudinal Associations Between Ethnic Enclaves, Neighborhood Processes, and Latino Immigrant Youth Depression
Methods:We use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the largest nationally representative sample of adolescents in the U.S. Our analytic sample (n=3,525) consisted of Latino adolescence at wave 1 and at wave 2 one year later. OLS regressions were performed using STATA survey commands to correct for the clustered sampling design of Add Health (Chantala & Tabor, 1999). We conducted hierarchical regression analysis to examine the effects of individual factors, family factors, neighborhood social processes, and finally ethnic enclaves at Wave 1 on Latino adolescent depression at Wave 2, controlling for demographic and other background factors. All analyses were stratified by immigrant status.
Results: Our first hypothesis was supported. Latino concentration predicted decreased depressive symptoms among immigrant Latino youth (β =-.05, p<. 05) but not among non-immigrant Latino youth. Our second hypothesis was not supported since neighborhood social processes were not significantly predicting Latino adolescents’ depressive symptoms at wave 2 in either group. Several individual and family factors predicted lower depression in Latino youth. Self-esteem predicted depression among immigrant and non-immigrant Latino youth (β =-.071, p<. 05; β =-.09, p<. 05, respectively). After controlling for neighborhood process and poverty, adolescent religious attendance predicted lower depressive symptoms among both immigrant and non-immigrant Latino youth (β =-.058, p<. 05; β =-.079, p<. 01, respectively). Youth-mother supportive relationships also predicted lower depressive symptoms among non-immigrant Latino youth (β =-071, p<. 05) but not immigrant youth.
Implications: Neighborhood ethnic concentration, often considered an indicator of poverty, appears to be beneficial for immigrant Latino adolescent mental health but is unrelated to non-immigrant Latino mental health. Supportive family relationships may be more influential for non-immigrant than immigrant youth with regards to reducing depressive symptoms. The results have implications for social work practice when working with Latino youth. In order to provide an effective intervention, multiple-level factors in their lives can be examined holistically including the individual, family and neighborhood factors.