Acculturative Stress, Psychological Distress, and Religious Coping Among Latina Young Adult Immigrants

Couns Psychol. 2017 Feb;45(2):213-236. doi: 10.1177/0011000017692111. Epub 2017 Mar 14.


Religion is a source of strength in Latina/o culture during challenging life transitions, such as the immigration process. Guided by a sociological stress-process model, this study examines relations between dimensions of religious coping, acculturative stress, and psychological distress among 530 young Latina women (ages 18-23 years) who recently immigrated to the United States (i.e., approximately 12 months prior to assessment). Higher levels of acculturative stress were associated with higher levels of psychological distress. Negative religious coping (i.e., the tendency to struggle with faith) moderated the relation between acculturative stress and psychological distress. Participants experiencing higher levels of acculturative stress reported greater psychological distress when they indicated more negative religious coping. Positive religious coping (i.e., the tendency to relate to faith with comfort and certainty) was not linked with acculturative stress or psychological distress. Implications for culturally tailored counseling interventions for this underserved and understudied population are discussed.

Keywords: Hispanic; Latina; acculturative stress; psychological distress; religious coping.