Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Gerdes, Alyson

Second Advisor

Torres, Lucas

Third Advisor

Franzoi, Stephen

Abstract

To develop a better understanding of mental health disparities for Latino adolescents, the goal of the current study was to examine the sociocultural influences on Latino adolescents' self-esteem. Specifically, the current study investigated the effects of acculturation and acculturation risk factors on adolescents' global self-worth and self-perceptions of competence. Eighty-three Latino adolescents completed a series of questionnaires regarding behavioral and cognitive aspects of acculturation, acculturation risk factors (i.e., acculturation stress, acculturation conflict, and perceived ethnic discrimination), and perceptions of global self-worth and competence across various domains (i.e., behavioral conduct, physical appearance, and social acceptance). Results indicated that Latino orientation and bicultural orientation on the behavioral measure of acculturation were positively associated with perceived competence regarding behavioral conduct. Additionally, acculturation stress was negatively associated with global self-worth and perceived competence regarding physical appearance and social acceptance. Similarly, acculturation conflict and perceived ethnic discrimination were negatively associated with global self-worth and perceived competence regarding behavioral conduct, physical appearance, and social acceptance. Exploratory analyses also revealed that specific cultural orientations (i.e., Latino orientation, orientation to mainstream U.S. culture, and bicultural orientation) on the behavioral and cognitive measures of acculturation were significant predictors of global self-worth and perceived competence regarding behavioral conduct. Additionally, the acculturation risk factors (i.e., acculturation stress, acculturation conflict, and perceived ethnic discrimination) were significant predictors of global self-worth and perceptions of competence across various domains (i.e., behavioral conduct, physical appearance, and social acceptance). However, moderation analyses indicated that the effects of acculturation conflict and perceived ethnic discrimination on Latino adolescents' global self-worth largely depended on their cultural orientation on the behavioral and cognitive measures of acculturation. For interventions aimed at improving global self-worth and perceptions of competence in Latino adolescents, these results highlight the importance of assessing acculturation and acculturation risk factors. Also, additional outreach is needed for Latino adolescents who may be particularly high risk for experiencing the detrimental effects of acculturation conflict and perceived ethnic discrimination on global self-worth.

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