Depression among Latino children in the public child welfare system

Cecilia Ayón, Maureen O. Marcenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore depression longitudinally among Latino children and youth, 7 years and older, who had contact with the public child welfare system. The National Survey on Children and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) was analyzed by Latino origin to uncover within group differences in depression. Latent growth models were employed to: 1) explore the rate and severity of depression longitudinally, and 2) examine the predictive role of parental immigration status and Latino origin on children's depression symptomatology over three years. The growth model results indicated that Latino children's depression levels varied at baseline, yet the rate of change over time was very similar. Moreover, the initial rate and severity of children's depression was related to future depressive symptomatology. In addition, older children tended to report higher levels of depression than younger children. The predictive model revealed that change in depression rates over time varied by Latino origin. Mexican and Puerto Rican children experienced higher levels of depression compared to children from other Latino origins. Although Mexican children's depression symptoms tended to decrease over time, the change occurred at a slower rate compared to children from other Latino origins. Puerto Rican children's depression symptoms increased compared to children from other Latino origins. Implications for practice are discussed. Recommendations are made for including contextual factors in assessment models and research with Latino families involved with the public child welfare system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1366-1375
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume30
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Latino families
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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