Impact of pre-migration assets and pre-migration trauma on acculturative stress among recent Latinx immigrant young adults

Ethn Health. 2021 Feb 8;1-18. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2021.1881766. Online ahead of print.


Background: Pre-migration trauma is associated with adverse mental health outcomes among Latinx immigrants. Pre-migration assets like family cohesion and social support may promote positive mental health outcomes in this population. The current study aims to identify the cumulative and interaction effects of pre-migration trauma, social support, and family cohesion on acculturative stress among recent Latinx immigrants (RLIs).

Method: The current study utilizes baseline data from an on-going longitudinal study following 540 RLIs during their initial 3 years in the U.S. Simple main effects of the predictor variables on acculturative stress were estimated using hierarchical multiple regression (HMR). Predictor variables were entered into the HMR model as follows: (1) demographic variables were entered in the first block, (2) family cohesion and social support in the second block and (3) pre-migration trauma in the third block. Interaction effects between family cohesion and social support on the association between pre-migration trauma and acculturative stress were examined.

Results: Results showed that 20.6% of the variance of acculturative stress was explained by the predictor variables entered into the HMR model. The first predictor block included demographic variables and explained 13.5% of the variability in acculturative stress, R2 = 13.5, F(6, 521) = 13.55, p < .001. The second block added family cohesion and social support to the HMR model and showed an ΔR2 of 4.5%, R2 = 18.0, F(8, 519) = 14.22, p < .001. The third block added pre- migration trauma to the HMR model and showed an ΔR2 change of 2.6%, R2 = 20.6, F(9, 518) = 14.93, p < .001. Significant interaction effects were found for family cohesion among documented RLIs. Social support was not a significant moderator.

Conclusion: Study findings suggest pre-migration resources such as family cohesion and social support may ameliorate post-immigration acculturative stress among RLI, while pre-migration trauma, may exacerbate acculturative stress.

Keywords: Acculturative stress; Latinx immigrants; family cohesion; pre-migration trauma; social support.