Exposure to racial/ethnic discrimination has been consistently associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes. However, the mechanisms underlying the link between discrimination and health are still unclear. In addition, potential moderators of the stressful impact of exposure to discrimination on mental health have yet to be clearly identified, particularly within underresearched groups such as Latino adolescents. The proposed study will address these gaps in the literature by investigating perceived racial/ethnic discrimination among Mexican-origin adolescents 12-17 years old. The proposed study has three specific aims: (1) To test mediating mechanisms (focusing on anger regulation) that help explain the link between racial/ethnic discrimination and mental health in Mexican-origin adolescents; (2) To identify coping strategies (e.g., ethnic identity;social support) that influence the link between racial/ethnic discrimination and mental health in Mexican-origin adolescents. (3) To assess the degree to which the family environment and sociocultural context factors (e.g., gender, nativity status, ethnic socialization) increase or decrease the adverse effect of racial/ethnic discrimination on adolescents'mental health. To achieve these study aims, we will conduct a longitudinal community-based survey of N = 270 Mexican- origin families in the northern Indiana region. Data will be collected using an audio computer administered self- interview (ACASI) approach with adolescents and face-to-face interviews with parents. Adolescents will be surveyed across three measurement occasions at 6-month intervals, whereas parents will be surveyed at the first time point. We will assess racial/ethnic discrimination, emotion regulation, anger expression/suppression, acculturation/enculturation levels, acculturative stress, ethnic identity development, cultural orientation and values, racial/ethnic/cultural socialization practices, and mental health. The within-group approach will allow us to carefully study cultural influences and variations in sources of resilience and vulnerability vis-?-vis mental disorders, and the longitudinal design wil enable us to test mediation and moderation effects across time to better determine sequence of effects. The proposed study is significant because it advances our understanding of: (1) key mediating mechanisms that help explain the link between discrimination and mental disorder;and, (2) potential moderating factors that can either buffer or exacerbate the impact of discrimination on mental health in this understudied population. This project is relevant to public health as it has the potential to identify explanatory mechanisms, as well as malleable risk and resilience factors, in the discrimination-mental health link. This will aid in the development of more targeted and culturally-sensitive interventions that can mitigate the detrimental impact of racism on the mental health of Latino youth and thus, help reduce health disparities.
This project will help identify explanatory mechanisms, as well as malleable vulnerability and resilience factors, in the discrimination-mental health link. Such information is critical in the reduction of health disparities as it will aid in the development of more targeted and culturally-sensitive interventions that can mitigate the detrimental impact of racism on the mental health of Latino youth.