Strength in numbers? Cognitive reappraisal tendencies and psychological functioning among Latinos in the context of oppression

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2012 Oct;18(4):384-94. doi: 10.1037/a0029781.


The typically positive relationship between cognitive reappraisal and psychological functioning may be nullified for Latinos embedded within multiple contexts of oppression (Perez & Soto, 2011). Multiply oppressive contexts are characterized by exposure to oppression at a societal level (distal oppression), in the immediate environment (proximal oppression), and at an individual level (personal oppression). We replicated and extended Perez and Soto's (2011) findings by examining whether the reappraisal-psychological functioning association was moderated by (a) relative numerical representation of Latinos within the environment (proximal oppression) and (b) personal perceptions of discrimination (personal oppression) among 425 Latino college students throughout the United States. For Latinos in high-Latino counties, greater use of reappraisal was associated with better psychological functioning, regardless of perceived discrimination; this relationship was absent for Latinos in low-Latino counties who perceived greater discrimination. Findings highlight the importance of considering how contextual factors can alter the adaptive functions of emotion regulation strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Cognition
  • Depression / psychology
  • Emotional Intelligence*
  • Emotions*
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests
  • Social Discrimination
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States