Association Between Socio-Ecological Risk Factor Clustering and Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Problems in Hispanic Adolescents

Lila Asfour, Shi Huang, Manuel A. Ocasio, Tatiana Perrino, Seth J. Schwartz, Daniel J. Feaster, Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Hilda Pantin, Guillermo Prado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic adolescents in the U.S. report higher rates of several mental, emotional, and behavioral problems such as substance use, sexual risk behaviors, and internalizing and externalizing problems. There is evidence of common pathways in the development of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems with certain subgroups of Hispanic adolescents being at greater risk. In the present article, we report analysis of baseline data for 959 Hispanic adolescents who participated in one of two randomized controlled trials evaluating a family-based preventive intervention. Utilizing latent class analysis, we identified subgroups of Hispanic adolescents based on socio-ecological risk and protective factors (e.g., parent–adolescent communication, parental involvement in school). Three distinct socio-ecological risk subgroups (high, medium, and low risk) were identified and exhibited significant differences from each other across a majority of socio-ecological risk and protective factors. Adolescents in higher socio-ecological risk subgroups reported greater mental, emotional, and behavioral problems across all outcomes. Individual comparisons revealed significant differences between the low socio-ecological risk group and both the medium and high socio-ecological risk group in lifetime alcohol use, smoking, and sex, as well as internalizing and externalizing problems. Implications for intervention include focusing on specific risk subgroups and targeting shared risk and protective factors rather than specific mental, emotional, and behavioral outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1273
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Adolescents
  • Health behaviors
  • Hispanic
  • Latent class analysis
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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