Discrimination and PTSD among Latinx immigrant youth: The moderating effects of gender

Psychol Trauma. 2022 Jan;14(1):11-19. doi: 10.1037/tra0001126. Epub 2021 Sep 30.


Objective: Discrimination is a minority-related stressor that contributes to mental health disparities between Latinx youth and their racial/ethnic peers. Discrimination activates the body's stress response system, resulting in a higher allostatic load that can cause mental health problems such as PTSD. We explored 1) the relation between perceived discrimination and PTSD symptoms among Latinx immigrant youth, and 2) how gender moderates this relation.

Methods: We conducted surveys with 306 Latinx first- and second-generation immigrant youth during the 2018-19 school year in Harris County, Texas and Rhode Island.

Results: We found that youth who perceived more discrimination were more likely to report PTSD symptoms. Female participants reported higher levels of PTSD symptoms than males, including higher levels of avoidance and reexperiencing symptoms. Perceived discrimination was associated with increased PTSD symptoms, including hypervigilance and avoidance symptoms, for female participants but not males. These interactions did not differ by location.

Conclusion: These results further provide support for research into discrimination as a potentially traumatic experience linked to PTSD and underscore the importance of including discrimination in assessments of trauma and adverse childhood outcomes among Latinx immigrant youth. Results further suggest the importance of an intersectional approach to understanding how discrimination relates to PTSD among Latinx immigrant youth. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Perceived Discrimination
  • Schools
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic*