College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-23-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Antonio J. Polo, PhD

Second Advisor

Kathryn Grant, PhD


A growing body of literature indicates Latino youth are at greater risk for depression relative to other racial/ethnic groups (CDC, 2014). Research examining predictors of Latino youth depression suggests higher familial values might buffer against youth depressive symptoms (Polo & Lopez, 2009; Zeiders et al., 2013b). However, longitudinal relationships between these variables remain largely unexamined. Furthermore, the literature on longitudinal youth depressive symptoms is mixed, with both increases and decreases being observed over time using group-centered analyses. The present study has three major aims: 1) map the trajectories of depressive symptomology among middle-school age Latino youth over the course of two years using person-centered analyses 2) examine if and how youth, parent, and dyadic (parent-youth) familism (derived using family-centered analyses) predict youth’s depressive symptom trajectories and 3) examine the role of sex and test the interactive effect of sex and youth familism on depressive symptom trajectories. Participants consisted of 133 low-income Latino youth (Mage = 11.90, SD = 0.94) from an urban public middle school in the Midwest, and a subsample of their parents (n = 91). Results indicate three youth depressive symptom trajectories (low stable, recovery, and escalating). As youth familism increased, youth were more likely to belong to the stable low trajectory, relative to the recovery trajectory. Parent and dyadic familism were not related to youth depressive symptom trajectories. Girls were more likely than boys to belong to the recovery trajectory, relative to the stable low trajectory. Sex did not moderate the relation between youth familism and youth depressive symptom trajectories. Our findings suggest using person- and family-centered approaches to analyzing longitudinal and parent-youth data (GMM and LPA, respectively) might account for mixed findings in the literature.

SLP Collection