Neighborhood Contexts, Fathers, and Mexican American Young Adolescents' Internalizing Symptoms

School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University.
Journal of Marriage and Family (Impact Factor: 3.01). 02/2012; 74(1):152-166. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00878.x
Source: PubMed


The family stress model posits that contextual stressors, such as neighborhood danger, negatively influence youth adjustment, including internalizing symptoms, via disruptions in parenting and family processes. The current study examined a culturally and contextually modified family stress model in a diverse sample of Mexican origin fathers and their children (N = 463) from the Southwestern U.S. Results supported the hypothesized negative influence of neighborhood danger on youth internalizing symptoms via disruptions in family cohesion. Paternal warmth did not play a role in linking contextual stress to outcomes. The role of harsh parenting was highly nuanced. Results suggest that both culture and context have the potential to moderate putative family stress model associations for specific parenting behaviors and further our understanding of the ways that culture and context may operate in models of family stress and youth outcomes.

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Available from: Rebecca M. B. White
    • "Qualitative work suggests that parents intentionally enacted harsher control strategies to help their adolescents successfully negotiate the demands of risky neighborhoods (Cruz-Santiago & Ramírez-García, 2011). Quantitative work documents amplified disadvantages (White & Roosa, 2012), or costs regardless of context (White et al., 2012) associated with such strategies. Both of the latter studies, however, focused on earlier developmental periods. "
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    ABSTRACT: The family stress model represents a common framework through which to examine the effects of environmental stressors on adolescent adjustment. The model suggests that economic and neighborhood stressors influence youth adjustment via disruptions to parenting. Incorporating integrative developmental theory, we examined the degree to which parents' cultural value orientations mitigated the effects of stressors on parenting disruptions and the degree to which environmental adversity qualified the effect of parenting on adolescent adjustment. We tested the hypothesized integrative family stress model longitudinally in a sample of mother-youth dyads (N = 749) and father-youth dyads (N = 467) from Mexican origin families, across 3 times points spanning early to middle adolescence. Providing the first longitudinal evidence of family stress mediated effects, mothers' perceptions of economic pressure were associated with increases in adolescent externalizing symptoms 5 years later via intermediate increases in harsh parenting. The remaining findings supported the notion that integrative developmental theory can inform family stress model hypothesis testing that is culturally and contextually relevant for a wide range of diverse families and youth. For example, fathers' perceptions of economic pressure and neighborhood danger had important implications for adolescent internalizing, via reductions in paternal warmth, but only at certain levels of neighborhood adversity. Mothers' familism value orientations mitigated the effects of economic pressure on maternal warmth, protecting their adolescents from experiencing developmental costs associated with environmental stressors. Results are discussed in terms of identifying how integrative developmental theory intersects with the family stress model to set diverse youth on different developmental pathways. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Developmental Psychology
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    • "Similarly, Deng et al. (2006) found that perceived neighborhood quality mediated the association between neighborhood disadvantage and parent– child conflict among 189 lowincome European American and Mexican American mothers. Of interest to the authors, Gonzalez et al. (2011) and White et al. (2012) only found moderated associations between perceptions of neighborhood danger/risk and harsh parenting in their sample of 750 Mexican American families. This may have been, in part, because no measures of mother's psychological well-being or family conflict were included in the models they tested. "
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    ABSTRACT: Family and neighborhood influences related to low-income were examined to understand their association with harsh parenting among an ethnically diverse sample of families. Specifically, a path model linking household income to harsh parenting via neighborhood disorder, fear for safety, maternal depressive symptoms, and family conflict was evaluated using cross-sectional data from 2,132 families with children ages 5-16 years from Chicago. The sample was 42% Mexican American, 41% African American, and 17% European American. Results provide support for a family process model where a lower income-to-needs ratio is associated with higher reports of neighborhood disorder, greater fear for safety, and more family conflict, which is in turn, associated with greater frequency of harsh parenting. Our tests for moderation by ethnicity/immigrant status, child gender, and child age (younger child vs. adolescent) indicate that although paths are similar for families of boys and girls, as well as for families of young children and adolescents, there are some differences by ethnic group. Specifically, we find the path from neighborhood disorder to fear for safety is stronger for Mexican American (United States born and immigrant) and European American families in comparison with African American families. We also find that the path from fear for safety to harsh parenting is significant for European American and African American families only. Possible reasons for such moderated effects are considered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Family Psychology
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    • "Limitations of this existing work, however, include (a) relying exclusively on youth perceptions of familial ethnic socialization and, thus, increasing the potential that shared method variance may partly explain the significant associations that have emerged; and (b) not differentiating between fathers' and mothers' ethnic socialization efforts. A few studies have noted the important role that Mexican-origin fathers play in their children's lives (e.g., Parke et al., 2004; White & Roosa, 2012), but for the most part, Latino fathers have received little attention in empirical work (Cabrera & García Coll, 2004); thus, an examination of fathers' unique contributions to youths' identity formation and adjustment is sorely needed. Finally, the existing work has been based largely on the developmental periods of middle and late adolescence, and it is unclear whether familial ethnic socialization efforts in early adolescence have a long-term impact on EI. "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examined how parental ethnic socialization informed adolescents' ethnic identity development and, in turn, youths' psychosocial functioning (i.e., mental health, social competence, academic efficacy, externalizing behaviors) among 749 Mexican-origin families. In addition, school ethnic composition was examined as a moderator of these associations. Findings indicated that mothers' and fathers' ethnic socialization were significant longitudinal predictors of adolescents' ethnic identity, although fathers' ethnic socialization interacted significantly with youths' school ethnic composition in 5(th) grade to influence ethnic identity in 7(th) grade. Furthermore, adolescents' ethnic identity was significantly associated with increased academic self-efficacy and social competence, and decreased depressive symptoms and externalizing behaviors. Findings support theoretical predictions regarding the central role parents play in Mexican-origin adolescents' normative developmental processes and adjustment and, importantly, underscore the need to consider variability that is introduced into these processes by features of the social context such as school ethnic composition.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · The Counseling Psychologist
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