Purpose: This systematic review of the literature informed of (a) the relationship between acculturation and acculturative stress, (b) examined the determinants of acculturative stress among Latino immigrants in the U.S., and (c) provided a conceptual framework that can be used to specify the interactive effect of various factors on acculturative stress.
Methods: Using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), this review synthesized the results of thirty studies published between 2000 and 2015 that investigated the influence of several socio-demographic and cultural contexts on acculturative stress among Latino immigrants categorized using Family Stress Management (FSM) theory as a framework.
Results: Studied highlighted several protectors from and risks to acculturative stress. Historical context protective factors included having a choice over the decision to migrate and social support; risks included discrimination, family left abroad, and fear of deportation. Economic context protective factors included higher income. The development context protective factors included English skills, years in the U.S., and being married; risks included being female. Cultural context protective factors included being culturally competent and acculturation; risks included family-cultural conflict and ethnic enclave pressures. Internal context protectors included post-immigration religious coping, church attendance, and family values.
Implications: The results highlighted incorporating cultural aspects (i.e. family values and social support) in mental health practice with Latino immigrants. A less stressful integration experience can be achieved if age-related stressors and experiences of discrimination are acknowledged and the need for social support and harmonious family dynamics was prioritized in service plans.
Keywords: Latinos; acculturative stress; psychological distress; risks and protectors.