Date of Award:

8-2019

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Committee

Rick A. Cruz

Committee

Melanie Domenech Rodríguez

Committee

Ginger Lockhart

Abstract

Latinx adolescents report higher levels of anxiety and depression symptoms (i.e., internalizing symptoms) compared to other ethnic groups. Research studies primarily conducted with European American youth have concluded that difficulties in emotion regulation and parent-adolescent conflict are associated with an increased risk for youth internalizing symptoms. Additionally, an important Latinx cultural value, familism, has been identified as a protective factor for internalizing symptoms for Latinx adolescents. Therefore, the current study examined how familism, parent-adolescent conflict, and difficulties in emotion regulation interact to influence the development of internalizing symptoms among Latinx adolescents. It was hypothesized that (a) parent-adolescent conflict and difficulties in emotion regulation would be positively correlated with internalizing symptoms, (b) a mediation model of the association between parent-adolescent conflict and internalizing symptoms through difficulties in emotion regulation would be supported, (c) familism would be negatively correlated with internalizing symptoms, and (e) familism would moderate the relation between parent-adolescent conflict and difficulties in emotion regulation. Lastly, this project explored whether familism would moderate the mediation model of the association between parent-adolescent conflict and internalizing symptoms through difficulties in emotion regulation.

To test this, data from the Salud de los Adolescentes Latinos study, which recruited Latinx adolescents (N = 92) from Northern Utah, was analyzed. Results from the study showed that higher levels of parent-adolescent conflict, difficulties in emotion regulation, and the future support subscale of familism were associated with an increased risk for internalizing symptoms among Latinx adolescents. Based on previous research, it was predicted that higher levels of familism would be associated with lower levels of internalizing symptoms, showing a protective effect. However, an association in the opposite direction was found, indicating that in this study familism served as a risk factor. In addition, familism did not moderate the association between parent-adolescent conflict and difficulties in emotion regulation nor the mediation model tested from the second study aim. Future studies should investigate the specific risk and protective properties of familism for Latinx adolescents. Findings also indicated that the association between parent-adolescent conflict and internalizing symptoms was partially explained through difficulties in emotion regulation. In other words, higher parent-adolescent conflict was associated with more adolescent difficulties in emotion regulation, which subsequently increased the risk for internalizing symptoms. These findings suggest that parent-adolescent conflict and difficulties in emotion regulation are risk factors for Latinx youth internalizing problems. Therefore, prevention and intervention efforts should target parent-adolescent conflict and difficulties in emotion regulation to reduce the risk for internalizing symptoms among Latinx adolescents.

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Included in

Psychology Commons

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