This study proposes to examine (a) the influence of acculturation stress on substance use and HIV-risk behaviors among recent Latino immigrants, (b) whether religious coping mechanisms have a moderating effect on that relationship. The central hypothesis to be tested is that specific religious coping mechanisms influence the relationship that acculturation stress has on the substance use and HIV-risk behaviors of Latino immigrants. The research will be conducted using secondary data analysis drawn from a longitudinal study done at Florida International University through the Center for Research on U.S. Latinos HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse. A cross sectional design will be used in the proposed research. The sample is expected to consist of a subset of 200 participants drawn from a total sample of 520 from the original parent study. The sample will include 100 men and 100 women between the ages of 19 and 35 who currently reside in Miami-Dade County. The sample will be divided equally between genders in order to facilitate the research aim of exploring variations across genders in the way that religious coping moderates the relationship between acculturation stress and substance use/HIV-risk behaviors. All participants will be Latino immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for less than two years. The participant's recent arrival to the U.S. is a unique and important component of this investigation as acculturation stress tends to be at its highest during the first two years of immigration. The proposed study will analyze data collected through face-to face administered paper/pencil questionnaires. Interviews were usually conducted in the participant'home and audio recorded for quality control purposes. The analyses for the proposed research will include data collected from scales on acculturation stress, substance use, HIV-risk, and religious coping. Only standardized scales with good psychometric properties were used. Additionally, three of the five scales have validated Spanish versions. The other two measures went through a thorough translation process including translation/back translation, modified direct translation, and checks for semantic and conceptual equivalence. Structural equation modeling will be the primary method of data analysis for testing relationships between variables in the proposed study.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study aims to contribute understanding of how religious coping as a Latino cultural value contributes to the adaptation process during the immigration experience. Expanding scientific understanding as to the function and affect of these coping mechanisms could lead to enhanced culturally relevant approaches in service delivery among Latino populations. Furthermore this knowledge could inform research about specific cognitions and behaviors that need to be targeted in prevention and treatment programs among Latino immigrants.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-J (29))
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Lambert, Elizabeth
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Florida International University
Social Sciences
Schools of Social Work
United States
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Sanchez, Mariana; Dillon, Frank R; Concha, Maritza et al. (2015) The Impact of Religious Coping on the Acculturative Stress and Alcohol Use of Recent Latino Immigrants. J Relig Health 54:1986-2004
Sanchez, Mariana; Dillon, Frank; Ruffin, Beverly et al. (2012) The Influence of Religious Coping on the Acculturative Stress of Recent Latino Immigrants. J Ethn Cult Divers Soc Work 21: