Recent Immigration Actions and News and the Adjustment of U.S. Latino/a Adolescents

Kathleen M. Roche, Rebecca M.B. White, Maria Ivonne Rivera, M. Dalal Safa, Daniel Newman, Olanrewaju Falusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: This research describes how family immigrant statuses are related to Latino/a adolescents' responses to recent immigration actions and news and, in turn, adolescent adjustment. Method: Study 1 included a school-based sample of 11- to 15-year-olds in suburban Atlanta, Georgia (N = 547); Study 2 included a convenience sample of 15- to 18-year-olds in the Washington, DC area (N = 340). Family immigrant status was defined by adolescents' immigrant generation status in Study 1 and by parent residency status in Study 2. In both studies, a 14-item measure assessed responses to recent immigration actions and news, including psychological worries and behavioral withdrawal. Dependent variables included internalizing and externalizing symptoms, suicidal ideation, e-cigarette use, and alcohol use (Study 1), and alcohol use and depressive symptoms (Study 2). Results: Psychological worry and behavioral withdrawal responses to immigration actions and news were significantly greater among adolescents with foreign-born, compared to U.S.-born, parents (Study 1), and among adolescents with undocumented, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or permanent resident parents, as compared to citizen parents (Study 2). Results from tests of indirect effects indicated that these worries and behavioral withdrawal responses were, in turn, associated with higher levels of adolescent internalizing and externalizing symptoms, a higher odds of substance use and suicidal ideation (Study 1), and higher levels of adolescent depressive symptoms (Study 2). Conclusions: As 1-quarter of the U.S. child population is Latino/a, there is a need to address immigration threats jeopardizing the adjustment of Latino/a teenagers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Immigration actions and news
  • Immigration status
  • Internalizing and externalizing symptoms
  • Latino/a adolescents
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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