Academic journal article Family Relations

Exploring Culturally Based Intrafamilial Stressors among Latino Adolescents

Academic journal article Family Relations

Exploring Culturally Based Intrafamilial Stressors among Latino Adolescents

Article excerpt

Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by, among other things, increased risk taking (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council [IOM/NRC], 2011), and researchers have demonstrated the ways in which family relations shape Latino adolescents' lives to ameliorate risk behaviors (Gonzales et al., 2012; Roosa et al., 2011; Umana-Taylor, Updegraff, & Gonzales-Backen, 2011). Intrafamilial stressors, however, can negatively affect these parent - adolescent relationships and family functioning as a whole (Marceau, Dorn, & Susman, 2012). Although all families experience intrafamilial stressors as a result of normal developmental processes, Latino families can also experience culturally based stressors, including parent - adolescent acculturation discrepancies (Cordova, Huang, Garvey, Estrada, & Prado, 2014). Despite the profound effects that culturally based intrafamilial stressors may have on Latino adolescent development, research exploring the intrafamilial stressors Latino families experience remains underdeveloped (Schwartz et al., 2012; Schwartz, Unger, Zambopanga, & Szapocznik, 2010). In this study, we begin to address this critical research gap using qualitative research methodology. Although several methodological and analytical approaches exist in qualitative research, we selected focus group methodology for data collection and grounded theory for analysis because these approaches aim to empower under represented groups and because research findings are grounded in participants' experiences (Cervantes & Cordova, 2011; Cordova, Ciofu, et al., 2014; Parra-Cardona, Cordova, Holtrop, Villarruel, & Wieling, 2008; Pasch et al., 2006; Umana-Taylor & Bamaca, 2004).

With the rapid increase of the Latino population in the United States, understanding the culturally based intrafamilial stressors that Latinos experience is of particular importance because it can aid in developing culturally specific preventive interventions for a large segment of the U.S. population (Cordova, Huang, Pantin, & Prado, 2012; Gonzales et al., 2012; Roosa et al., 2011; Smokowski & Bacallao, 2010; Umana-Taylor et al., 2011). Indeed, the United States is home to 52 million Latinos and is second only to Mexico in size of Latino population. Culturally specific interventions are particularly timely because, of the Latino population currently living in the United States, 47.1% report being foreign born and more than one half report having arrived after 1990 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). Further, the demographics of this population- approximately 61.1% of U.S. Latino households report having children age 18 years or younger - indicate that parent - adolescent stressors may be a significant aspect of intrafamilial stressors (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). Despite this continued growth of the U.S. Latino population, culturally specific preventive interventions to address mental and behavioral health needs of Latinos, including interventions targeting parent-adolescent intrafamilial stressors, are lacking (Cervantes, Goldbach, & Santos, 2011; Schwartz et al., 2012; Smokowski & Bacallao, 2010). Therefore, in this study we explore the nature of culturally based intrafamilial stressors, including parent - adolescent acculturation discrepancies, as described by a sample of Latino adolescents from the Northeast and Southwest United States.

Acculturation and Parent - Adolescent Acculturation Discrepancies

Broadly defined, acculturation is a multidimensional process by which change in individuals occurs as a result of contact with a new host culture over time (Berry, 2001, 2007; Telzer, 2010). These multidimensional changes include, but are not limited to, language preference, values, practices, beliefs, and identity (Berry, 2006; Schwartz et al., 2010). For example, one can be highly acculturated to the host country with respect to language preference (e.g., primarily speaking English), but low in acculturation with respect to certain values (e. …

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