Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Rick A. Cruz


Rick A. Cruz


Michael Levin


Rebecca Blais


Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde


Melanie Domenech Rodríguez


Despite being at an increased risk of experiencing mental health problems, Latinx emerging adults underutilize professional psychological services compared to other ethnic/racial groups. It is important for researchers to understand this mental health disparity to improve Latinx emerging adults’ use of quality mental health services (MHS). The current project investigated factors that might influence Latinx emerging adult’s use of MHS through two separate studies. In the first study, I systematically reviewed research published in the past decade that examined predictors of MHS use among Latinx emerging adults. A total of 9 studies were found and included in this review. This systematic review highlighted several factors that increased or decreased the likelihood or extent of Latinx emerging adults’ use of MHS. These factors included mental health stigma, perceived helpfulness of treatment, insurance coverage, perceived need, and knowledge of available resources. Among these, mental health stigma was often rated as a barrier to seeking psychological treatment among Latinx emerging adults. In the second study, I explored how cultural factors, like language use and how much people identified with being Latinx, and emotional factors, including emotion regulation and expression, might influence Latinx college students’ stigma and negative attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. Results from this study showed that limited emotion expression and difficulties with emotion regulation predicted greater stigma and negative attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. On the other hand, higher English language use and adherence to ethnic identity were associated with less stigma and negative attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help among Latinx college students. Based on the results from both studies, suggestions for clinical practice and future research are offered.



Included in

Psychology Commons