Linking community and family characteristics to adolescent adjustment  (2022)

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Latino families face significant stressors that can jeopardize parenting processes and compromise the mental health of youth. To date, research on Latino youth focuses largely on individual- and family-level processes; as a result, we know little about culturally-relevant neighborhood transactions affecting Latino youth’s externalizing and internalizing problems. Emerging immigrant destinations, in particular, present a unique set of cultural demands and opportunities for immigrant Latino parents. The purpose of this project is to examine how neighborhood-level processes impact Latino parents and youth and ultimately, contribute to youth mental health outcomes.

Professor Esther Calzada will be working with Kathleen Roche at the George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health, to collect data on immigrant Latino adolescents and their families, schools and neighborhoods in a new immigration destination in the South.  Calzada will contribute to the development of measures and the analysis of data pertinent to the parent-child acculturation gap, immigrant parents’ social network support, and other family processes.

The results of this project will shed light on how contextual stressors shape family processes and youth development in Latino families. Specifically, findings will increase knowledge of Latino families as they navigate a new environment, and of how cultural demands and opportunities experienced in neighborhoods may be linked to acculturation stress, ineffective parenting, and youth mental health. Findings from this study are expected to enhance existing interventions by identifying multi-level, culture-specific factors that can be improved to foster parenting processes protective against risks for youth’s externalizing and internalizing symptoms in new immigrant areas.

Funding for this project was made possible (in part) by Grant #: R01HD090232 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The views expressed in written project materials or publications do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.