Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 273–292 | Cite as

Acculturation, Internalizing Mental Health Symptoms, and Self-Esteem: Cultural Experiences of Latino Adolescents in North Carolina

  • Paul R. SmokowskiEmail author
  • Martica L. Bacallao
Original Paper


This investigation examined acculturation risk factors and cultural assets, internalizing behavioral problems, and self-esteem in 323 Latino adolescents living in North Carolina. Multiple regression analyses revealed two risk factors—perceived discrimination and parent–adolescent conflict—as highly significant predictors of adolescent internalizing problems and low self-esteem. Adolescents who were highly involved in Latino culture and who experienced high parent–adolescent conflict were found particularly at risk for internalizing problems. Biculturalism and familism were cultural assets found associated with fewer internalizing problems and higher self-esteem. For internalizing problems, familism’s protective effect was mediated by parent–adolescent conflict. Implications were discussed.


Latinos Adolescents Acculturation Internalizing problems Self-esteem 


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We wish to thank the Latino families who participated in this study. This study was supported by grants from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (R49/CCR42172-02) and from the Centers for Disease Control’s Office of the Director (1K01 CE000496-01).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.University of North CarolinaGreensboroUSA

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