Send to

Choose Destination
J Adolesc Health. 2018 Apr;62(4):480-487. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.10.010. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and Mental Health in Mexican-Origin Youths and Their Parents: Testing the "Linked Lives" Hypothesis.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine, South Bend, Indiana. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, California.
Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Medicine, Disparities Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Erratum in



Using a life course perspective, the present study tested the concept of "linked lives" applied to the problem of not only how racial/ethnic discrimination may be associated with poor mental health for the target of discrimination but also how discrimination may exacerbate the discrimination-distress link for others in the target's social network-in this case, the family.


The discrimination-distress link was investigated among 269 Mexican-origin adolescents and their parents both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. It was hypothesized that parents' discrimination experiences would adversely affect their adolescent children's mental health via a moderating effect on the target adolescent discrimination-distress link. The converse was also hypothesized for the target parents. Multilevel moderation analyses were conducted to test the moderating effect of parents' discrimination experiences on the youth discrimination-distress link. We also tested the moderating effect of youths' discrimination experiences on the parent discrimination-distress link.


Parents' discrimination experiences significantly moderated the longitudinal association between youths' discrimination stress appraisals and mental health, such that the father's discrimination experiences exacerbated the youth discrimination-depression link. Youths' discrimination stress appraisals were not a significant moderator of the cross-sectional parent discrimination-mental health association.


Implications of these findings are discussed from a linked lives perspective, highlighting how fathers' discrimination experiences can adversely affect youths who are coping with discrimination, in terms of their mental health.


Anxiety; Depression; Life course; Linked lives; Mental health; Mexican-origin adolescents and parents; Racial/ethnic discrimination

[Available on 2019-04-01]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center