Depression and Anxiety among Immigrant Latino Youth


The article “The Role of Acculturative Stress on Mental Health Symptoms for Immigrant Adolescents: A Longitudinal Investigation” is a three-wave longitudinal study that examines routes of internalizing mental health symptoms (somatic, anxiety, and depression). About 332 participants took part in this study. These were mainly first and second-generation adolescent immigrants residing in urban. Results from growth curve modeling demonstrate deduction in internalizing problems associated with mental health during the high school period. This paper will analyze the article in many aspects, such as the background of the article, implications of health inequities, and implications for policy and practice presented.


As aforementioned, the article “The Role of Acculturative Stress on Mental Health Symptoms for Immigrant Adolescents: A Longitudinal Investigation” examines routes of internalizing mental health symptoms (somatic, anxiety, and depression). It is clear from the abstract of the article that this issue is not simple. One out of four adolescents in the United States belongs to an immigrant family. Additionally, immigrants in many urban centers such as Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City constitute over 50% of the students in public schools. These youths experience what is usually referred to as “accumulative stress,” in addition to living in neighborhoods characterized by poverty and attending schools with a lack of essential resources.  The accumulative stress has been found to increase the risk of various symptoms associated with mental health, such as increased anger level, alienation, and depression (Sirin et al., 2012).

The article seeks to answer whether there are generation and gender status variations in internalizing the outcomes of mental health and accumulative stress during the 12th, 11th, and 10th grades for immigrant youths residing in urban. The research further focuses on the change of pattern over time for symptoms associated with mental health (depressed/withdrawn, depressed/anxiety, and somatic symptoms). Also, the paper investigates if accumulative stress changes over time predict the changes in the outcomes of mental health over time.

The problems associated with mental health in adolescents are usually evaluated in terms of internalizing and externalizing symptoms (Potochnick & Perreira, 2010). Internalizing symptoms elude the internal stress that adolescents undergo, such as somatic, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Externalizing symptoms elude overt behaviors as delinquent and aggressive behaviors displayed by an adolescent that usually results in conflict with others. Even though externalizing symptoms have been widely studied, little work has been done on internalizing symptoms.

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The article examines the role of generation and gender status and explores the impact of accumulative stress and developmental trajectories associated with internalizing symptoms. Research demonstrates that gender and the group level of differences for immigrant generation are the likely moderating elements in the advancement of internalizing problems. The adolescent female is more likely to report on internalizing problems as compared to male peers. Research demonstrates that girls reported the highest cases of internalizing problems such as somatic, anxiety, psychological withdrawal, and depression symptoms. However, the boys, compared to the girls, have a higher probability of scoring in the clinical range for internalizing problems (Hovey & King, 2011).

The collection of evidence on the generational variations in the psychological outcomes of immigrants has been mainly grounded on the study conducted with adults instead of the young people or the results grounded on epidemiological review with a solitary purpose of estimation, as opposed to longitudinal. Strikingly few reviews have utilized a longitudinal plan to look at generational and gender status in connection to acculturative stress amid youthfulness, a period when the stress confronted by this adolescent might be especially remarkable (Finch et al., 2010).

To answer the first question, repeated ANOVA measures were done to give an elaborate descriptive understanding of generational and gender differences variations in study variables between the three waves. The means and standard deviation by generation and gender status of the outcomes were determined. The results showed that the first generation of immigrant youths had higher cumulative stress than the second generation. There was no variation in accumulative stress based on gender, and the interaction between generational and gender status was not significant.

Repeated ANOVA measures were additionally performed to determine generational and gender status variations in outcomes of internal mental health. Girls reported greater depressed/anxiety symptoms, somatic symptoms, and depressed/withdrawn symptoms than boys. The first generation of immigrants also reported greater depressed/withdrawn symptoms.

To study the behavior over time in depressed/withdrawn, somatic, and depressed/anxious symptoms, unconditional growth models were developed. The result showed that self-reported depressed/withdrawn symptoms of adolescence were reduced by an average of 0.06 units annually.

The unconditional model was additionally used to answer question three. The results suggest that there is no change in accumulative stress over time predicts the changes in the outcomes of mental health over time.

Implications of Health Inequities

The impacts of the generation on symptoms related to mental health have demonstrated a conflicting outcome. According to some findings, the first-generation of immigrants have a higher risk of developing depressive and anxiety disorders compared to their peers born in the United States. For example, women and men who came to the U.S. when they were still very young have an increased risk of depressive and anxiety disorders during adolescence and childhood than women and men born in the United States. On the other hand, the “Immigrant paradox,” a scenario where immigrants of the second generation felt far worse than those of the first generation, has been supported in numerous literature. Research shows that second-generation immigrant Latinos have the highest rate of mental problems, such as psychiatric disorders, compared to first-generation immigrant Latinos (Gonzales et al., 2013).

Implications for Policy and Practice

There policies that have been established to solve health disparities among immigrant Latinos. The policies aim to provide better health care for this special group. As a result, problems that are usually associated with mental health have significantly reduced.

States in the U.S. have policies that increase the problems experienced by immigrants. Many Latino immigrants experience increased stress levels because of restriction policies on their status and reduced motivations. Many questions remain unanswered about the mental and emotional health of these individuals. Some of the factors that negatively affect the well-being and health of the immigrants have been found to trauma, stress accumulation, anxiety and perceptions, and rejection (Gonzales et al., 2013). Immigration status among undocumented immigrants creates additional stress associated with fear and limited access to resources.

Conclusion and Future Research Recommendations

The main objective of the article was to examine routes of internalizing mental health symptoms (somatic, anxiety, and depression). Overall, this objective has been achieved. The author employed an appropriate methodology to collect and analyze data.

Given the expanded numbers and progressively vulnerable status of immigrant youths who reside in urban, and despite the numerous calls for more research into the lives of these adolescents, there is almost no information about what adds to the formative direction of disguising emotional well-being side effects among these individuals. This article review endeavors to distinguish key statistic and mental components that expand on the discoveries of research scattered crosswise over different controls. Given the constrained access to quality emotional well-being administer to foreigner urban populations, the ramifications of acculturative weight on mental side effects posture genuine dangers to solid improvement for urban outsider youth.

Future research should focus on the measurement and evaluation of the progress aimed at solving depression and anxiety among immigrant Latino youth.



Finch, B. K., Kolody, B., & Vega, W. A. (2010). Perceived discrimination and depression among Mexican-origin adults in California. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 295-313.

Gonzales, R. G., Suárez-Orozco, C., & Dedios-Sanguineti, M. C. (2013). No place to belong: Contextualizing concepts of mental health among undocumented immigrant youth in the United States. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(8), 1174-1199.

Hovey, J. D., & King, C. A. (2011). Acculturative stress, depression, and suicidal ideation among immigrant and second-generation Latino adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 35(9), 1183-1192.

Potochnick, S. R., & Perreira, K. M. (2010). Depression and anxiety among first-generation immigrant Latino youth: key correlates and implications for future research. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198(7), 470.

Sirin, S. R., Ryce, P., Gupta, T., & Rogers-Sirin, L. (2012). The role of acculturative
stress on mental health symptoms for immigrant adolescents: A longitudinal investigation. Developmental Psychology, 49(4), 736–748.