Associations among parenting, depressive symptoms, socialization of coping, and youth coping with family conflict in Latinx families




Echavarría-Moats, Gabriela

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Latinx youth in the U.S. have among the highest rates of functionally impairing depressive symptoms compared to other racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Ivey-Stephenson, et al., 2020; Potochnick & Perreira, 2010), and there is great need for research on risk and protective factors in this population. Identifying sources of resilience in Latinx families in the face of adversity are vital to developing culturally relevant interventions to support the well-being of Latinx families (e.g., Crean, 2004). Certain parenting behaviors (e.g., Hill, Bush, & Roosa, 2003), parent coping suggestions (e.g., Abaied & Rudolph, 2010), and youth coping skills (e.g., Compas et al., 2017) have been found to protect against the depressive symptoms in the general population. However, the relationship between parenting dimensions and youth depressive symptoms has been less consistent in Latinx samples compared to non-Latinx samples (Luis et al., 2008; Varela et al., 2009, 2013), and limited research has examined the relationship between coping and youth depressive symptoms in Latinx youth. In addition, family conflict (e.g., Céspedes & Huey, 2008; Costello et al., 2003; Deardorff, Gonzalez, & Sandler, 2003; Seidman et al., 1999) and youth coping with family conflict (Wadsworth & Compas, 2002) have each been found to be strong predictors of youth depressive symptoms across racial and ethnic groups, but limited research has examined how parents’ suggestions for how to cope with family conflict can protect against youth depressive symptoms. The present study utilizes longitudinal and multi-informant data to examine the relationships among parental acceptance, youth coping with family conflict, parent coping suggestions, and youth depressive symptoms in Latinx families while controlling for the effects of parent depressive symptoms, baseline youth depressive symptoms, harsh parenting, and child gender. A sample of early adolescent Latinx youth and their parents who were primarily of Mexican descent and living in poverty completed measures at three time points over the course of a year. Path analysis was the primary statistical approach used. The results of the study indicate that primary control coping might be especially adaptive for Latinx youth in the context of family conflict, and might also be more easily taught to children through explicit instruction than other types of coping. Parent-report of primary control youth coping with family conflict and primary and secondary control coping suggestions negatively predicted youth depressive symptoms six months later. In addition, primary control coping suggestions were positively correlated with primary control youth coping and negatively correlated with disengagement youth coping. The results also indicate that parental acceptance is associated with the coping suggestions parents give, as well as how youth cope with family conflict in Latinx families. Specifically, parental acceptance was found to be positively correlated with both primary and secondary control youth coping and every type of parent coping suggestion, and was negatively correlated with disengagement youth coping. Lastly, parent-report of primary control coping suggestions mediated the relationship between parental acceptance and primary control youth coping. The findings from this study are relevant to understanding factors that can protect against the development of depressive symptoms in this population, and could help inform culturally relevant, family-focused preventative interventions for Latinx youth at risk for depression.


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