Cultural mismatch theory suggests that a poor fit between the cultural values endorsed by individuals and the institutions to which they belong results in emotional distress and activation of physiological stress processes, particularly for underrepresented groups. To test a novel paradigm for reducing perceptions of this cultural mismatch, the current experiment evaluated whether reminding first-year Latino university students (N = 84; Mage = 18.56; SD = 0.35; 63.1% female; 85.7% Mexican descent; 65.5% first-generation college students) about institutional support for cultural diversity and inclusion would reduce neuroendocrine and affective responses to psychosocial stress. Prior to completing a modified version of the Trier Social Stress Test, participants were randomly assigned to view either a video conveying university commitment to cultural diversity and inclusion (n = 45) or a control video (n = 39) depicting a campus tour. Five saliva samples assayed for cortisol and corresponding negative affect measures were collected to assess stress reactivity and recovery patterns (pre-task baseline, post-task +30 min, +45 min, +60 min, +75 min). Repeated measures data were analyzed using bilinear spline growth models. Viewing the culture video (compared to control) significantly reduced cortisol reactivity to the TSST and post-task negative affect levels, specifically for students endorsing higher Latino cultural values (e.g., familism, respect). Post-task cortisol levels were also reduced for students endorsing higher U.S. mainstream cultural values (e.g., self-reliance, competition). Results provide novel evidence for cultural diversity in stress responsivity and individual variation in approaches to reduce perceived cultural mismatch.
- Cultural mismatch
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience