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J Adolesc. 2007 Aug;30(4):549-67. Epub 2006 Oct 23.

Latino adolescents' mental health: exploring the interrelations among discrimination, ethnic identity, cultural orientation, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms.

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1
Arizona State University, Department of Family and Human Development, PO Box 872502, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA. adriana.umana-taylor@asu.edu

Abstract

Guided by a risk and resilience framework, the current study used cross-sectional data to examine the degree to which Latino adolescents' (N=274; M age=16.3; 47.1% female) self-esteem, ethnic identity, and cultural orientations mediated or moderated the relation between perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms. Utilizing a multiple group comparison approach, path analyses indicated that higher levels of ethnic identity exploration and resolution significantly predicted higher levels of self-esteem for both boys and girls. Furthermore, self-esteem partially mediated the relation between perceived discrimination and adolescents' depressive symptoms. Additional analyses revealed that boys' cultural orientations moderated the relation between perceived discrimination and both self-esteem and depressive symptoms. Taken together, findings indicated that various aspects of the self (i.e. self-esteem, ethnic identity, cultural orientations) can protect and/or enhance the risks associated with discrimination.

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