Alan Meca

Alan Meca
University of Texas at San Antonio | UTSA · Department of Psychology

Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology

About

110
Publications
74,433
Reads
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1,959
Citations
Citations since 2017
84 Research Items
1749 Citations
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Introduction
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. My research program focuses on identity development across various domains and on the links between identity and psychosocial functioning. Although I study identity development broadly, the majority of my research has focused on cultural identity, particularly among Hispanic/Latinx youth.
Additional affiliations
August 2021 - present
University of Texas at San Antonio
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
July 2017 - August 2021
Old Dominion University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
September 2014 - June 2017
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher working under Dr. Seth J. Schwartz (University of Miami) and Dr. Jonathan Tubman (American University) on the 'Multisite School-Based Evaluation of a Brief Screener for Underage Drinking', a R01 funded by the NIAAA.
Education
August 2012 - April 2014
Florida International University
Field of study
  • Developmental Psychology
August 2010 - July 2012
Florida International University
Field of study
  • Developmental Psychology
September 2006 - April 2010
Florida International University
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (110)
Article
Full-text available
Emerging adulthood is a transitional period between adolescence and adulthood where positive and negative life trajectories tend to diverge, with issues surrounding identity formation playing a key role (Arnett 2004). The current study evaluated the Miami Adult Development Project, a self-facilitated identity-focused intervention. The sample consis...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The Ethnic Identity Scale (EIS) was developed to distinguish between process and content components of ethnic-racial identity (ERI). However, the affirmation subscale is composed entirely of negatively worded items, measuring negative feelings about one's ethnic-racial group, rather than positive feelings as widely conceptualized. Addre...
Article
Full-text available
Reintegration to civilian life among service members can be understood through the lens of a transformation in an individual’s identity structure. However, limited research has examined the unique impact of military, U.S., and personal identity on mental health and substance use among veterans. The goal of the present study was to examine the relat...
Article
Full-text available
To date, no effort has been made to develop a psychometrically valid measure capable of disentangling U.S. identity exploration, resolution, and affirmation. Given that biculturalism, or the identification with ones' ethnic group and with the superordinate "American" category has been consistently identified as the most adaptive strategy for youth...
Chapter
Full-text available
Identity development serves as a significant developmental task during the stages of adolescence and emerging adulthood. For those of immigrant or ethnic-racial minoritized backgrounds however, cultural identity presents an additional undertaking during this developmental period. Although operationalizations of cultural identity have varied in the...
Article
Full-text available
Cultural identity, which represents the degree to which individuals define themselves with the cultural groups to which they belong, is a particularly salient developmental task for ethnic/racial minoritized youth. Two important identity domains of cultural identity, ethnic-racial and U.S. identity, have been consistently associated with psychologi...
Article
We examined whether higher levels of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and gender were associated with three dimensions of identity (i.e., commitment, in-depth exploration, and reconsideration) and meaning in life (i.e., meaning in life and search for meaning) among recent-era veterans. Participants were 174 post-9/11 veterans (55.8% me...
Preprint
Full-text available
Attentional control theory (ACT) posits that elevated anxiety increases the probability of re-allocating cognitive resources needed to complete a task to processing anxiety-related stimuli. This process impairs processing efficiency and can lead to reduced performance effectiveness. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students frequen...
Chapter
Full-text available
The establishment of a coherent sense of self and identity represents a central developmental task of adolescence and emerging adulthood that has been increasingly conceptualized as a “steering mechanism” that guides one's life pathways and decisions. However, although identity development often involves navigating a period of identity uncertainty,...
Article
The present study was designed to examine distinct co‐occurrence patterns of acculturation and perceived context of reception between weekdays and weekends among Hispanic college students in Miami and their influences on psychosocial maladaptation. We conducted a 12‐day diary study with a sample of first‐ and second‐generation Hispanic college stud...
Article
Full-text available
Comorbidity of social anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder is common and bears a worse prognosis than either disorder alone. Emotion regulation strategies, such as cognitive reappraisal (CR), expressive suppression (ES), and their interaction may impact the association of social anxiety with depression symptoms. Path analysis was used to...
Preprint
Background Population-based neuroscience offers opportunities to examine important but understudied sociocultural factors, such as acculturation. Acculturation refers to the extent to which an individual retains their cultural heritage and/or adopts the receiving society’s culture and is particularly salient among Hispanic/Latinx immigrants. Specif...
Article
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Given the rapidly changing political rhetoric and policies concerning immigration, and the likely impact of this rhetoric on immigrants' adjustment, it is essential to understand the experiences of recently arrived immigrant individuals and families. This article describes methods to recruit and retain recently arrived Hispanic families in longitud...
Article
The present study was designed to examine the extent to which, in a sample of 873 Hispanic college students, daily levels of, and variability in, well-being would mediate the predictive effects of culturally related stressors (discrimination, negative context of reception, and bicultural stress) on internalizing and externalizing symptoms 11 days l...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter explores the social and emotional development of emerging adults and focuses on how it contributes to feelings of anxiety, inability to make decisions, uncertainty, and lack of belonging. It provides information on how identity impacts mental health, particularly during this developmental stage. Various theories are discussed, with inf...
Article
Full-text available
The increasing ethnic and racial diversity within the United States has led to questions regarding what it means to be American. Recently, the United States Identity Scale (USIS) was developed and validated with a sample of Latino/a college students. However, the USIS requires the establishment of measurement invariance before it can be widely used...
Article
Objective: Research indicates that college student-athletes report more alcohol use and negative drinking consequences than non-student-athletes. One drinking practice that has been linked to heavy alcohol use and related consequences is playing drinking games. In the present study, we investigated which segment of the student-athlete population i...
Chapter
Full-text available
The US is home to the world’s largest immigrant population, with an estimated 51 million foreign-born migrants, who largely originate from the global south. A significant proportion of the US population thus experiences acculturation or psychological changes as they navigate between different cultural environments. Contemporary conceptualizations o...
Article
US military Veterans are at greater risk for suicide than those who have never served in the US military. Recent federal calls include the need to investigate military-specific suicide risk and protective factors among military-affiliated populations. To date, no study has examined the link between military identity, self-stigma, and suicide risk....
Article
Full-text available
Although prior studies have indicated athletic identity plays a role in alcohol use among college athletes, this research has largely drawn on a unidimensional conceptualization. Addressing this gap, the current study utilized a sample of 8,550 university athletes (Mage = 19.70 years, SD = 1.33, 50.8% men) from 203 U.S. post-secondary institutions...
Article
Adolescent hope can promote the emotional and behavioral well‐being of Latinx families. Positive family functioning may foster adolescent hope, whereas cultural stress may compromise adolescent hope and well‐being. We examined how adolescent hope changed over time, and whether cultural stress and family functioning predicted emotional and behaviora...
Article
Full-text available
Hispanic emerging adults are routinely faced with a variety of cultural stressors that adversely impact mental health and compromise identity development. Given that identity emerges through day-to-day interactions, there is a need to explore the impact of cultural stress on identity development and depressive symptoms at the micro-level (across da...
Article
Objective: Athletic involvement is linked to increased risk for heavy alcohol use among college students. We examined whether student-athletes from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds differ with respect to heavy drinking and related consequences. Method: Participants were 15,135 student-athlete drinkers (50.7% female) from 170 NCAA member instituti...
Article
Full-text available
Although there is a substantial body of work focusing on the processes underlying cultural identity in general, less is known regarding how these processes might operate within the context of Latinx families. Moreover, among the limited research that has included the adolescent and caregiver cultural identity, most of the research has primarily foc...
Article
Full-text available
Daily diary studies allow for examining the day-to-day dynamic experiences of biculturalism. The present study used a 12-day daily diary dataset collected with 873 Hispanic college students. Our goal was to (a) identify two distinct forms of dynamic daily processes of linguistic biculturalism (bicultural levels and bicultural fluctuations) and (b)...
Article
During the last four years, xenophobic rhetoric directed toward Latino immigrants in U.S. media outlets and political forums has greatly increased. Using a general inductive approach, this qualitative study examined the forms of cultural stress, with a focus on discrimination and xenophobia, experienced by Latino adolescents in urban U.S. settings...
Article
We test acculturative stress, Hybrid (HIS) and Alternating (AIS) Identity Styles, and their interaction effects as predictors of psychosocial functioning over a 12-day period among Hispanic American university students. Participants completed measures of acculturative stress, HIS, AIS, and internalizing (anxiety and depression) and externalizing (s...
Article
Full-text available
As a result of the large and increasing flow of international migrants, scholarly interest in acculturation, and its links with positive and negative indicators of psychosocial functioning, has substantially increased over the last few decades. This entry reviews contemporary models of acculturation, the role of acculturation in substance use among...
Article
Most studies on psychosocial stress among Hispanics have focused on risk factors. To better understand psychosocial stress among this population, this study aimed to examine components of bicultural identity integration and bicultural self-efficacy, that may be associated with lower psychosocial stress among Hispanic emerging adults (ages 18-25). T...
Article
Full-text available
Given over 2.77 million U.S. service members have been deployed in the past 20 years and the intense process of reintegration to civilian life, understanding factors that contribute to veterans’ mental health and substance use is critical. This study sought to understand the effects of U.S. identity exploration, U.S. identity commitment, U.S. ident...
Article
This article discusses the use of brief screeners in social work practice to identity adolescents in need of selected interventions for alcohol and other drug use problems. Brief screeners can increase access to alcohol or other drug intervention services and promote the diffusion of evidence-based interventions to underserved communities when inte...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Hispanic immigrants exhibit more positive outcomes than U.S.‐born Hispanics across educational, psychological, and physical health indices, a phenomenon called the immigrant paradox. We examined the immigrant paradox in relation to alcohol use severity among Hispanic young adults while considering both positive (optimism) and negative (de...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The present study introduces a daily, micro-level perspective on acculturation using a sample of Hispanic college students in Miami. Methods: We conducted a 12-day diary study with a sample of first- and second-generation Hispanic college students in Miami. Outcome variables were measured on Days 1 and 12, and acculturation components (...
Article
Full-text available
The Bicultural Identity Integration Scale (BIIS-2) and the Multicultural Identity Styles Scale (MISS) were designed to assess different aspects of bicultural identity. The BIIS-2 captures characteristics of a bicultural identity in the domains of affect (harmony vs. conflict) and cognition (blendedness vs. compartmentalization). The MISS measures 2...
Article
Full-text available
The present article proposes an integration between cultural psychology and developmental science. Such an integration would draw on the cultural-psychology principle of culture-psyche interactions, as well as on the developmental-science principle of person↔context relations. Our proposed integration centers on acculturation, which is inherently b...
Article
The risk for alcohol misuse among emerging adults can increase by the development of a maladaptive identity structure. Recent research has shown that drinking identity serves as a risk factor for hazardous drinking. Despite this, existing measures have largely relied on unidimensional conceptualizations of drinking identity. Addressing this gap,the...
Article
Objective This study aimed to (1) examine respective associations of acculturation orientations (e.g., U.S. orientation and Hispanic orientation) and domains (e.g., social groundedness and role repertoire) of bicultural self-efficacy, the perceived confidence to function effectively within the receiving culture and the heritage culture, with alcoho...
Article
Full-text available
This study sought to examine the associations between parental identity commitment, in-depth exploration, and reconsideration of commitments with mental health outcomes (i.e., symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety). Furthermore, the current study examined differences in associations between both current and expecting parents. A diverse cro...
Poster
Full-text available
This poster investigated how the four dimensions of acculturative stress impacts parenting in recently immigrated Hispanic parents individually. Acculturative stress was assessed using the Multidimensional Acculturative Stress Inventory (MASI; Rodriguez, Myers, Mira, Flores, & Garcia-Hernandez, 2015) and parenting was assessed using the Parenting P...
Article
Full-text available
Ethnic identity is a consistent predictor of positive youth adjustment, whereas discrimination has been associated with negative outcomes among Latino/a youth. Scholars have proposed associations between ethnic identity and discrimination; however, directionality of effects remains unclear. Addressing this gap, the current study examined the direct...
Article
Background: The Acculturative Process and Context Framework (Ward & Geeraert, 2016) proposes that acculturative stressors influence psychological well-being over time. In fact, extant literature has linked bicultural stress with psychological functioning; yet, no studies have explored the causal dominance of bicultural stress. The purpose of the p...
Article
Objective: In this qualitative study, we investigated how public schools in the Miami-Dade County School District identify and manage students’ underage alcohol use and to explore the benefits and challenges of systematic screening for underage alcohol use in district schools. Methods: We conducted face-to-face interviews with 16 school officials d...
Article
Full-text available
Although personal identity development has been conceptualized as a source of psychological stability and protective against depressive symptoms among Hispanic immigrants, there remains ambiguity regarding the directional relationship between identity development and depression. To address this limitation, the current study sought to establish dire...
Article
The aim of this study was to determine if adolescents' scores on a 2-item underage alcohol use screener predict risky consequences of past-year alcohol use and other health risk behaviors in a nonclinical, school-based sample of adolescents. A predominantly minority sample of 756 middle and high school students completed in-school tablet-based surv...
Preprint
The aim of this study was to determine if adolescents' scores on a two-item underage alcohol use screener predict risky consequences of past-year alcohol use and other health risk behaviors in a non-clinical, school-based sample of adolescents. A predominantly minority sample of 756 middle and high school students completed in-school tablet-based s...
Poster
Full-text available
Alcohol Expectancies and Valuations as Mediators of Adolescent Identity Development and Harmful Alcohol Use
Article
Full-text available
Longitudinal effects of acculturation and enculturation on mental health: Does the measure matter? – CORRIGENDUM - Alan Meca, Seth J. Schwartz, Charles R. Martinez, Heather H. McClure
Article
Full-text available
Identity research has flourished in recent years based on the theoretical foundation proposed by Erikson. Identity development is generally conceptualized as a process occurring through an interplay between the individual and her or his social context. Consequently, one of the challenges facing identity research is to become more culturally sensiti...
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing recognition for the need for research to explore the unique and interactive effects of acculturation and sociocultural stress on alcohol initiation. Building on this research agenda, the current study sought to explore the independent and interactive effects of acculturation (i.e., heritage and U.S. cultural practices and identif...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Around the world, the transformative power of globalization has increased intercultural connectivity, initiated sociocultural change, and broadened the possibilities for diverse life trajectories. These developments have increased the number of individuals within non-Western contexts who experience emerging adulthood as a developmental...
Article
Full-text available
Latinx families can experience cultural stressors, which can negatively influence their emotional and behavioral health. Few studies have examined if perceived neighborhood characteristics buffer against or exacerbate the negative effects of cultural stress on adolescent and parent health outcomes. To address this gap in the literature, this study...
Chapter
As a result of increases in international migration and advances in technology, there has been a surge in cross-cultural contact across the globe. This cross-cultural exposure has increased the number of bicultural individuals – people who have roots in at least two cultures. In contrast to traditional approaches, recent work has suggested that bic...
Article
We examined two conceptualizations of bicultural identity – the Bicultural Identity Integration (BII) framework (cultural identity blendedness-distance and harmony-conflict) and cultural hybridizing and alternating (mixing one’s two cultural identities and/or switching between them). Utilizing data from a 12-day diary study with 873 Hispanic colleg...
Article
Full-text available
The vast majority of immigration-focused research in psychology is rooted in deficit models that center on negative health outcomes (e.g., depression, acculturative stress, anxiety, substance use), resulting in a widely held assumption that immigrants are at greater risk for pathology and poor well-being compared to native-born individuals. Moreove...
Article
Full-text available
Although studies have explored how cultural identity impacts young people’s daily lives, these studies have exclusively focused on daily variability in cultural identity salience, overlooking daily variability in the underlying developmental processes. In the present study, we used a 12-day daily assessment conducted with 873 Hispanic college stude...
Article
Objectives: This study explored whether cultural identity predicts health lifestyle behaviors. Method: Participants included 302 recently immigrated (<5 years in the U.S.) Latinx adolescents (53% boys; mean age 14.51 years at baseline) from Miami and Los Angeles. Participants completed cultural identity measures at baseline and 1-year post basel...
Article
Full-text available
A great deal of research has focused on acculturation and enculturation, which represent the processes of adapting to a new culture. Despite this growing literature, results have produced inconsistent findings that may be attributable to differences in terms of the instruments used to assess acculturation and enculturation. Utilizing a 3-year longi...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: We investigated the association between perceived ethnic discrimination with psychological well-being and life satisfaction among a community sample of unauthorized Hispanic immigrants in the United States. We also assessed whether ethnic/racial group identity centrality moderated this relationship. Method: A community sample of self...
Article
Acculturation consists of multiple domains (i.e., cultural practices, identifications, and values). However, less is known about how acculturation processes influence each other across multiple domains of acculturation. The present study was designed to investigate transition patterns of acculturative processes within and across domains in a sample...
Article
Full-text available
The development of a clear sense of identity is a key developmental task in adolescence, and recent studies have found that identity synthesis and confusion are associated negatively and positively, respectively, to alcohol use. One alcohol expectancy - tension reduction - coincides with the hypothesis that identity development may prove to be a st...
Article
Acculturative stress and alcohol-related cognitions have been examined as determinants of hazardous alcohol use among college students from immigrant backgrounds. Yet it remains unclear how multiple dimensions of religiousness and acculturation affect the associations among acculturative stress, alcohol-related cognitions, and hazardous alcohol use...
Poster
Full-text available
Problematic Drinking in College Students
Article
Rates of immigration are at an all-time high in many Western countries, and immigration can exert profound influences on identity development. These influences occur both at the individual level and at the group level, but these two sets of influences have rarely been considered simultaneously. Accordingly, this article adopts a multilevel approach...
Article
The goal of this investigation was to determine whether various cultural stressors (bicultural stress, perceived discrimination, and perceived negative context of reception [PNCR]) predict positive and negative substance use attitudes, directly and indirectly through personal identity, in a sample of immigrant Hispanic adolescents. Data on cultural...
Article
Mentoring during graduate training confers a multitude of benefits. However, despite these benefits, health service psychology subfields (e.g., counseling/clinical psychology) could benefit from additional attention to mentoring and associated outcomes. Although the field of health service psychology has examined advising during graduate training,...
Article
Ethnic identity formation is a central developmental task that can become challenging when adolescents face a salient stressor, such as ethnic discrimination. Although ethnic identity and experiences with ethnic discrimination are thought to be associated, the temporal order of these constructs is unclear. In the current study, we examined (1) the...
Article
This study examined longitudinal effects of adolescent and parent cultural stress on adolescent and parent emotional well-being and health behaviors via trajectories of adolescent and parent family functioning. Recent immigrant Latino adolescents (Mage = 14.51) and parents (Mage = 41.09; N = 302) completed measures of these constructs. Latent growt...
Article
Full-text available
In the current study, we sought to (a) determine the extent to which the categories proposed within Berry’s acculturation typologies model could be empirically derived among a sample of undocumented Latino immigrants, and (b) explore which approaches would be associated with the most positive psychological functioning. A community sample of 140 sel...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the results of a positive youth development (PYD) intervention for adolescents in alternative high schools (209 African-American and Hispanic American adolescents, aged 14-18; 118 females and 91 males). The intervention was guided by a self-transformative model of PYD (Eichas, Meca, Montgomery, & Kurtines, 2014). This model pro...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter explores the incipient role of acculturation in cigarette smoking, tobacco use, and use of illicit drugs in Hispanic youth in the US. We first examine the conceptual foundations of acculturation including early unidimensional models and later bidimensional and multicomponent perspectives of acculturation. We then review empirical studi...