The Longitudinal Associations Between Discrimination, Depressive Symptoms, and Prosocial Behaviors in U.S. Latino/a Recent Immigrant Adolescents

J Youth Adolesc. 2016 Mar;45(3):457-70. doi: 10.1007/s10964-015-0394-x. Epub 2015 Nov 23.


The links between discrimination and adjustment in U.S. Latino/a immigrant adolescents is an important but understudied phenomenon. We aimed to investigate the longitudinal associations (across 1 year) among discrimination, prosocial behaviors, and depressive symptoms in U.S. Latino immigrant adolescents using two competing models: associations between discrimination and prosocial behaviors via depressive symptoms (mental health strain model), and associations between discrimination and depressive symptoms via prosocial behaviors (prosociality strain model). Participants were 302 Latino/a recent immigrant adolescents (53.3 % boys, M age = 14.51 years at Time 1, SD = .88 years) who completed measures of discrimination, depressive symptoms, and prosocial behaviors at 6-month intervals. The results provided support for both proposed models. The discussion examines the importance of prosocial behaviors in understanding adjustment and effects of discrimination among recently immigrated U.S. Latino adolescents.

Keywords: Depressive symptoms; Discrimination; Prosocial behaviors; U.S. Latina/o youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Cuba / ethnology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Discrimination / psychology*
  • United States