Predictors of Latinx Youth Health and Emotional Well-being: Social Determinants of Health Perspective

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2020 May 13. doi: 10.1007/s40615-020-00744-4. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Latinx youth disproportionately experience numerous negative social determinants of health (SDOH) that can have deleterious impacts on health outcomes. Yet, limited research is available on the role of SDOH on the well-being of Latinx adolescents. Utilizing data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, this study examined the association between variables representing five discrete domains of SDOH and health and emotional well-being outcomes among youth of Latinx mothers (N = 745). The study included 15-year-old youth of Latina mothers who were retained in the most recent wave of data collection (wave 6). Using Mplus8, we performed structural equation modeling to determine whether exogenous indicators of five domains of SDOH (economic stability, education, neighborhood and built environment, social and community context, and health care access) predicted adolescent health status and emotional well-being. SDOH specific to social, educational, and neighborhood factors emerged as significant predictors of health and well-being. Yet, variation existed in regard to which SDOH were most important for each outcome variable. Findings suggest that several SDOH, including economic stability, education, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context, are particularly important for Latinx adolescent well-being. Implications for social work practice and policy are presented. Future studies should examine the longitudinal impact of SDOH and should examine Latinx youth by nativity.

Keywords: Emotional well-being; Health status; Latinx adolescents; Social determinants of health.