An examination of Mexican American adolescent and adult romantic relationships

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This dissertation examined Mexican American individuals' romantic relationships within two distinct developmental periods, adolescence and adulthood. Study 1 used latent class analysis to explore whether 12th grade Mexican Americans' (N

This dissertation examined Mexican American individuals' romantic relationships within two distinct developmental periods, adolescence and adulthood. Study 1 used latent class analysis to explore whether 12th grade Mexican Americans' (N = 218) romantic relationship characteristics, cultural values, and gender created unique romantic relationship profiles. Results suggested a three-class solution: higher quality, satisfactory quality, and lower quality romantic relationships. Subsequently, associations between profiles and adolescents' adjustment variables were examined via regression analyses. Adolescents with higher and satisfactory quality romantic relationships reported greater future family expectations, higher self-esteem, and fewer externalizing symptoms than adolescents with lower quality romantic relationships. Similarly, adolescents with higher quality romantic relationships reported greater academic self-efficacy and fewer sexual partners than adolescents with lower quality romantic relationships. Finally, adolescents with higher quality romantic relationships also reported greater future family expectations and higher academic self-efficacy than adolescents with satisfactory quality romantic relationships. To summarize, results suggested that adolescents engaged in three unique types of romantic relationships with higher quality being most optimal for their adjustment. Study 2 used latent growth modeling to examine marital partners' (N = 466) intra- and inter-individual changes of acculturative stress, depressive symptoms, and marital quality. On average across the seven years, husbands' acculturative stress remained steady, but wives' significantly decreased; partners' depressive symptoms remained relatively steady, but their marital quality significantly decreased. Although partners' experiences of acculturative stress were less similar than their experiences of depressive symptoms and marital quality, overall their experiences were interconnected. Significant spillover and crossover effects emerged between partners' initial levels of acculturative stress and depressive symptoms and between depressive symptoms and marital quality. Moreover, changes in husbands' depressive symptoms were negatively associated with changes in their marital quality. Overall, results suggested that partners' experiences were interconnected across time.