The goal of this training grant is to promote positive youth development in Latino youths by examining parenting practices that place youths at heightened risk for developing anxiety. Long-term, this will allow the candidate to tailor interventions to better serve diverse families and reduce mental health disparity. Training goals for this fellowship are to equip the candidate with (a) understanding of the interplay between family processes, culture, and youth outcome, (b) skills to develop innovative, culturally-appropriate anxiety interventions, (c) capacity to conduct rigorous investigations using sound research design and quantitative methods. These goals will be met through mentorship from leading researchers and coursework completion. The training plan will culminate in the completion of the proposed original project. This cross-sectional case-control study will examine observed interactions between mothers (N = 60;30 Non-Hispanic White, 30 Mexican American) with an anxiety disorder diagnosis and their children (ages 8-14) to examine cross- cultural differences in parenting behaviors (e.g., control, autonomy-granting, criticism, warmth, anxiety- modeling) and their associations with youth psychological symptoms and functioning.
Specific aims are to (1) examine cultural differences in observed parenting behaviors of anxious mothers, (2) specify associations between parenting behaviors and youth mental health outcomes, and (3) assess potential moderators of the relationship between observed parenting behaviors and youth symptoms, including ethnicity and child perception of parenting. Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health problem in the U.S. in adults and youths. Anxiety is more highly prevalent in Hispanic populations, who are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the U.S. Anxiety interferes with youths'abilities to reach their full adult potential by negatively impacting social relationships, school achievement, and psychological well-being. Parenting behaviors are often implicated in the development of youth anxiety;however, behaviors of anxious Mexican Americans, who place different cultural value on practices such as parental control, have not been examined. Therefore, this study is of high theoretical and public health importance. This project is an initial step toward identifying culture-specific parent behaviors that place youths at high-risk for developing internalizing disorders and that may serve to transmit anxiety from parent to child. It will lay the groundwork for future development of culturally- appropriate child anxiety preventive interventions.

Public Health Relevance

My long-term career goal is to increase the efficiency of interventions for youths and families with early onset anxiety problems and to aid in the customization of treatment to ethnic minority groups to reduce racial mental health disparity. Anxiety is prevalent, distressing, and disabling, and its treatment and prevention will enhance the likelihood that youths will lead healthy lives, free from disorder and disability. Previous research indicates that parental psychopathology may play a large role in both the development and maintenance of youth anxiety, as well as for the n of interventions. Specific parenting behaviors have been implicated, however, little is known about how these findings may generalize to other cultural groups. A major unexplored area is the potentially different parenting practices of anxious mothers across cultures.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-K (29))
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Esposito, Layla E
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San Diego State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
San Diego
United States
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