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Nativity Status and Depressive Symptoms Among Hispanic Young Adults: The Role of Stress Exposure

Kathryn Harker Tillman and Ursula Keller Weiss
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 90, No. 5, Special Issue: on Health Policy and Healthy Populations (December 2009), pp. 1228-1250
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42940629
Page Count: 23
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Nativity Status and Depressive Symptoms Among Hispanic Young Adults: The Role of Stress Exposure
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Abstract

Objective. This article documents nativity differentials in depressive symptoms among Hispanics during their initial years of adulthood and explores how ethnicity, sociodemographic characteristics, and exposure to stressful life events and changes in social roles help explain those differentials. Methods. Data are drawn from a large-scale two-wave community study of stress, psychiatric wellbeing, and substance use disorders among young adults. Our analytic sample includes 553 Hispanic respondents and we employ multivariate regression techniques. Results. Regardless of age at immigration, foreign-born women experience greater declines in depressive symptoms than native-born women during early adulthood. This advantage is explained by differences in perceptions of discrimination, family-based stress, and social role changes. The association between nativity and depressive symptoms is not conditioned by ethnicity, but ethnicity does condition the association between stressful events and depressive symptoms. Conclusions. The findings suggest that mental health treatment and prevention efforts should focus more heavily on stress exposure.

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