Purpose: Using a life course perspective, the present study tested the concept of "linked lives" applied to the problem of not only how racial/ethnic discrimination may be associated with poor mental health for the target of discrimination but also how discrimination may exacerbate the discrimination-distress link for others in the target's social network-in this case, the family.
Methods: The discrimination-distress link was investigated among 269 Mexican-origin adolescents and their parents both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. It was hypothesized that parents' discrimination experiences would adversely affect their adolescent children's mental health via a moderating effect on the target adolescent discrimination-distress link. The converse was also hypothesized for the target parents. Multilevel moderation analyses were conducted to test the moderating effect of parents' discrimination experiences on the youth discrimination-distress link. We also tested the moderating effect of youths' discrimination experiences on the parent discrimination-distress link.
Results: Parents' discrimination experiences significantly moderated the longitudinal association between youths' discrimination stress appraisals and mental health, such that the father's discrimination experiences exacerbated the youth discrimination-depression link. Youths' discrimination stress appraisals were not a significant moderator of the cross-sectional parent discrimination-mental health association.
Conclusions: Implications of these findings are discussed from a linked lives perspective, highlighting how fathers' discrimination experiences can adversely affect youths who are coping with discrimination, in terms of their mental health.
Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Life course; Linked lives; Mental health; Mexican-origin adolescents and parents; Racial/ethnic discrimination.
Copyright © 2017 The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.