Cultural beliefs and behaviors can serve as both risk and protective processes for Latino adolescents, with some recent empirical work suggesting the important protective role of bicultural values (e.g., endorsing high levels of both mainstream culture and culture of origin). We expanded on past research to explore whether bicultural values were associated with internalizing (depressive, anxiety, stress) symptoms and externalizing (alcohol use) symptoms among a sample of Latino adolescents preparing to begin college. We hypothesized biculturalism to protect against all negative outcomes. Our sample consisted of 209 college-bound Latino adolescents (65% female; 85.1% Mexican descent; 10.6% 1st generation, 62% 2nd generation) who were enrolled in university for the coming fall. All multivariate models included sex, ethnicity, parent education, and immigrant generation status as covariates. Correlations and multivariate analyses revealed that higher bicultural values were associated with lower depressive symptoms, lower anxiety symptoms, lower stress, and greater alcohol use. Gender was shown to moderate the relationship between biculturalism and alcohol use. Overall, findings suggested that greater bicultural values were associated with lower endorsement of internalizing symptoms for all participants, but higher endorsement of alcohol use over the last year for the highly bicultural females. Biculturalism may be particularly protective for Latino adolescents who are preparing to attend college given the need for them to transition into an environment with high acculturative demands. However, our results also highlight that these bicultural females may be at greater risk for alcohol use and related problems.
- The Relationship between Biculturalism and Mental Health Outcomes among College-bound Latino Adolescents
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