Latino Cultural Stressors

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November 7, 2012 by bramirezgalaviz1

Many of us are familiar with the term depression and with the typical things that stress adolescents out. Simply by interacting with two different cultures, that are not at all alike, is a stress. Coping with the norms of each culture is exhausting. Knowing what to do and when to do it is very hard and can get overwhelming. Research has shows that Latinos are more likely to have attempted suicide or have a suicide plan compared to African American and non-White youth. Living in a bicultural environment brings stress upon the Latino youth, interchanging Spanish at home and English at school is challenging enough. Latinos may go through a specific type of stress that is known as Bicultural stress. This type of stress is characterized by having the pressure to adopt the majority culture’s values and to preserve one’s original culture. This pressure of fitting in and not being let out is what brings Latinos the most stress. Coping with what they learn at home and school, combining these lessons in their everyday life is a struggle. Even if they try their best, they always have that thought of “Will they accept me? What are others going to think?” Latinos need to learn to embrace their differences from other cultures. These differences of eating tamales and prioritizing family is what us LATINOS!!

As adolescents, we tend to cope faster to the United States culture compared to our parents or grandparents. As quoted in the “Journal of Youth & Adolescence” (Oct2012, Vol. 41 Issue 10, p1339-1349, 11p; written by Stein, Gabriela, Gonzalez, Laura, Huq, Nadia), “Depressive symptoms in Latino youth have been related to both culturally-universal and culturally-based stressors.” Students may show stress related to “parent-child conflict, economic stress, discrimination from peers, and acculturative stress as well as depressive symptoms.” Latino students are prone to go through the difficult challenge of discrimination. It is how the student responds to the situation is what makes the difference. As said in the article, acculturative stress and discrimination predicted greater depressive symptoms even when controlling for parent-child conflict, economic stress. Culturally-based stressors were prone to be more depressing for students compared to culturally-universal stressors. “Culturally-based stressors play an important role in depressive symptoms among Latino youth.” This means Latino youth’s highest stressor comes from discrimination and trying to cope with their environment, that pressure to fit in due to their interaction between two cultures, at home and at school.



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