Latino youth may experience depression as a natural and valid response to the stressors they encounter in their social and physical environments. In addition to acculturation processes, racial discrimination at schools, and conflicting cultural identities, Latino youth may sometimes face additional stressors. Latino youth’s high rates of depression may be explained in part by these factors.
Adapting and assimilating another culture is referred to as acculturation. Everyone experiences acculturation differently, and age plays a large role.
Adapting and assimilating another culture is referred to as acculturation. Everyone experiences acculturation differently, and age plays a large role. Learning a new language, understanding new social cues, and adapting to new academic and institutional systems can be challenging if you leave behind the place and culture you were born and raised in. You may also find it difficult to appreciate different types of foods, music, and even traffic rules. Especially if you weren’t the one who made the decision to go to a new country, this may be challenging. Compared to someone born in the U.S., starting high school can be especially stressful and intimidating for a teen who doesn’t speak English.
Mental health outcomes are often related to one’s sense of cultural identity. Being aware of your cultural identity can protect you from depressive symptoms. Identifying positively and actively with your culture may lower the chance of developing mental health problems. However, this may prove difficult for those struggling with acculturation processes.
Gender role beliefs
Studies show that there is a gender role discrepancy contributing to the higher rates of depression in Latinas than Latino boys due to culture-specific factors. Young Latinos are often faced with demands and expectations regarding how to behave and think that don’t always align with those presented at school or in peer groups. Self-esteem, identity, and social interactions can be affected by these discrepancies.