Developmental Psychopathology in a Racial/Ethnic Minority Group: Are Cultural Risks Relevant?

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017 Dec;56(12):1081-1088.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2017.10.011. Epub 2017 Oct 24.


Objective: The current study examined (a) the mediating role of parenting behaviors in the relationship between parental risks and youth antisocial behaviors (YASB), and (b) the role of youth cultural stress in a racial/ethnic minority group (i.e., Puerto Rican [PR] youth).

Method: This longitudinal study consisted of 3 annual interviews of PR youth (N = 1,150; aged 10-14 years at wave 1) and their caretakers from the South Bronx (SB) in New York City and from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Parents reported on parental risks, parenting behaviors, and YASB. Youth also self-reported on YASB and youth cultural stress. A lagged structural equation model examined the relationship between these variables across 3 yearly waves, with youth cultural stress as a moderator of the association between effective parenting behaviors and YASB.

Results: Findings supported the positive influence of effective parenting on YASB, independently of past parental risks and past YASB: higher effective parenting significantly predicted lower YASB at the following wave. Parenting also accounted for (mediated) the association between the composite of parental risks and YASB. Youth cultural stress at wave 1 was cross-sectionally associated with higher YASB and moderated the prospective associations between effective parenting and YASB, such that for youth who perceived higher cultural stress, the positive effect of effective parenting on YASB was weakened compared to those with lower/average cultural stress.

Conclusion: Among PR families, both parental and cultural risk factors influence YASB. Such findings should be considered when treating racial/ethnic minority youth for whom cultural factors may be a relevant influence on determining behaviors.

Keywords: Puerto Rican; antisocial behaviors; cultural stress; parenting; youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Conduct Disorder / ethnology*
  • Conduct Disorder / psychology
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Models, Statistical
  • New York City
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerto Rico / ethnology
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology