Date of Award

Fall 2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Lucas Torres

Second Advisor

Ed de St. Aubin

Third Advisor

Michael J. Wierzbicki, Debra Oswald

Abstract

Using a brief longitudinal design, this study examined the role of cultural adaptation processes (acculturation, acculturative stress, and intercultural competence) in predicting depression symptoms among Latinos living in the United States. Based on previous research employing stress generation processes (e.g., Hammen, 2005), it was hypothesized that depression symptoms measured at baseline predicted dependent stressful life events measured at six-month follow-up. It was further hypothesized that depression symptoms measured at baseline predicted dependent stressful life events measured at six-month follow-up indirectly through acculturation, acculturative stress, and intercultural competence, also measured at six-month follow-up. Finally, it was hypothesized that six-month follow-up acculturation, acculturative stress, and intercultural competence predicted severity of six-month follow-up depression symptoms indirectly through dependent stressful life events. Although results did not support study hypotheses, supplementary analyses found support for a longitudinal relationship between baseline dependent stressful life events and six-month follow-up acculturative stress mediated by baseline depression. Supplementary analyses also found evidence of possible longitudinal relationship between Latino acculturation and six-month follow-up acculturative stress mediated by baseline depression at the trend level of significance. Results are discussed in the context of a transactional relationship between stress and depression and the possible corresponding influence of this relationship on the cultural adaptation experience of Latinos living in the United States.

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