College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-8-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Antonio Polo, PhD

Second Advisor

Kathryn Grant, PhD


Latino youth in the United States experience high rates of both poverty and of depressive symptoms and disorders (CDC, 2012; DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2014). According to the Adaptation to Poverty Related Stress model (APRS; Wadsworth, Raviv, Compas, & Connor-Smith, 2005), economic pressure is positively linked to adolescent depression via coping. Using a resilience perspective, the present study extends the APRS model by exploring the role that cultural values, namely family obligation, and control beliefs play in the relation between economic pressure and depressive symptoms for Latino youth. Participants in this study were 404 Latino children and adolescents (M age=12.02; 52.5 % girls), who were predominantly of low-income and Mexican American backgrounds. Results indicated that greater economic pressure predicted more depressive symptoms through decreased primary and secondary control beliefs, which were evaluated separately. In addition, family obligation was found to buffer against the impact of having lower secondary control beliefs on increased depressive symptoms, but did not significantly moderate any other independent path of the mediational models. Finally, family obligation was found to be a significant moderator of the mediational model including secondary but not primary control beliefs, through its attenuation of the impact of decreased secondary control beliefs on depressive symptoms. Taken together, the findings indicated that family obligation represented a cultural asset that protected Latino youth against some, but not all, of the pernicious effects of economic pressure on their adjustment.

SLP Collection