Cultural Stress, Emotional well-being, and Health Risk Behaviors among Recent Immigrant Latinx families: The Moderating Role of Perceived Neighborhood Characteristics

Elma I. Lorenzo-Blanco, Alan Meca, Jennifer B. Unger, Jose Szapocznik, Miguel Ángel Cano, Sabrina E. Des Rosiers, Seth J Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 investigated how parent (social cohesion, informal social control, extent of problems) and adolescent (support) perceived neighborhood factors moderated the associations of parent and adolescent cultural stress with parent and adolescent emotional and behavioral well-being. Data came from waves 1 and 3 of a six-wave longitudinal survey with 302 recent immigrant Latinx adolescents (47% female, Mage = 14.51 years) and their parents (74% mothers, Mage = 41.09 years). Results indicated that when parents reported low levels of neighborhood problems, adolescent cultural stress did not predict adolescent health risk behaviors. However, adolescent and parent cultural stress predicted higher levels of adolescents’ sense of hope when parents perceived low levels of neighborhood problems. Furthermore, adolescent and parent cultural stress predicted higher youth depressive symptoms and health risk behaviors when positive neighborhood factors (informal social control, social cohesion) were high. Similarly, adolescent and parent cultural stress predicted lower adolescents’ sense of hope and self-esteem when positive neighborhood factors were high. These findings indicate that efforts to reduce the negative effects of cultural stress on youth emotional and behavioral health may benefit from combating neighborhood problems. Results further indicate that research is needed to clarify unexpected findings. Directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Acculturative stress
  • Emotional and behavioral health
  • Ethnic discrimination
  • Latina/o
  • Negative context of reception
  • Neighborhood context

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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