The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Differential Risk and Protective Factors for Mental Health and Acculturation Outcomes Among Major Latino- and Asian-American Subgroups: Needs for Ethnic Sensitive Practices

Thursday, January 16, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:15 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 003B River Level (San Antonio, TX)
Cluster: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
Symposium Organizer:
Amy L. Ai, PhD, Florida State University
Latinos are the largest ethnic minority population in the United States (US), while Asian Americans (AA) constitute the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the US.

However, while studies frequently include statistical controls for Latino and Asian Race and Ethnicity, researchers only recently began to appreciate the cultural, historical, and experiential differences of distinct subgroups of the Latino and Asian immigrant populations. The meaning of immigrants’ experiences depends greatly on their historical, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as on barriers such as discrimination and acculturation stress that comes with immigration. To help social work scholars better understand the contextualized etiologies of mental and physical health and immigration related intergenerational issues for Latino and Asian American subgroups, we organized four studies in this symposium.*  The four studies use the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) and the Survey of Asian American Families (SAAF) in New York City to investigate the effects of risk and protective factors for immigrant mental health and to explore predictors of parenting influence on intergenerational outcomes in various immigrant groups. Study I investigated differences in the effects of immigration-related stressors on the self-rated mental health (SRMH) of Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Mexican subgroups nationwide. While all Latino immigrant groups experienced discrimination and acculturation stress, the length of their US residence is the most important predictor of lower SRMH in Mexicans. Perceived discrimination, however, was the most important factor among Puerto Ricans. Study II focused on protectors from major depression for Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipinos nationwide, also utilizing the NLAAS. The results of this study showed that factors generally considered to be protective among Black and White Americans are not uniformly protective for all Asian American subgroups. While Racial/Ethnic Identity increased the likelihood of major depressive disorder in Chinese, it reduced the likelihood in Filipinos and had no effect in Vietnamese. Whereas social support might benefit Chinese and Vietnamese, it had no influence among Filipinos. Study III examines the immigration-related association between parenting and acculturation of Asian American, using the SAAF. The authors found that parental acculturation affected the formation of intergenerational relationships. The finding thus suggested that increased parental education could reduce the likelihood of inter-generational conflict by increasing nurturing behavior, thereby improving the transmission of intergenerational acculturation socialization. Study IV, finally, investigated stressors of Chinese parents’ and effects on their child-rearing practices. In line with the previous study the authors indicated that parental stressors like unemployment, low income, and low education were associated with harsher discipline and more intergenerational conflict. Social support functions as a mediator in the relationships between parental stress, acculturation, and positive parenting practice, but not on the effects on negative parenting behaviors. Theoretical considerations and implications for social work research and intervention are be discussed.  (*Note: Although there are many individuals are US born in these samples, they are considered as generations of immigrants here without denying that Mexican Americans were partly in the US mainland even before Europeans’ immigration.)

* noted as presenting author
Differential Immigration Stress Impacts and Self-Rated Mental Health of Major Latino-American Subgroups: A National Study
Harald Ernst Weiss, PhD, Florida State University; Amy L. Ai, PhD, Florida State University; Anna Yelick, MSW, Florida State University
Major Depression, Discrimination, Acculturation, and Differential Protectors of Major Depression in Major Asian-American Subgroups: A National Study
Amy L. Ai, PhD, Florida State University; Harald Ernst Weiss, PhD, Florida State University; Hyejin Kim, MA, Florida State University
Acculturation, Nurturance Behaviors, and Intergenerational Conflict in Asian American Immigrants
Fuhua Zhai, PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Shu-Wen Liu, MSW, Fordham University; Qin Gao, PhD, Fordham University
Social Support—A Mediator On the Role of Parental Socioeconomic and Acculturation Stress in Chinese Immigrants' Intergenerational Relationship
Qin Gao, PhD, Fordham University; Fuhua Zhai, PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Shu-Wen Liu, MSW, Fordham University
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