Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 1592–1604 | Cite as

Coping and Culture: The Protective Effects of Shift-&-Persist and Ethnic-Racial Identity on Depressive Symptoms in Latinx Youth

  • N. Keita ChristopheEmail author
  • Gabriela Livas Stein
  • Michelle Y. Martin Romero
  • Michele Chan
  • Michaeline Jensen
  • Laura M. Gonzalez
  • Lisa Kiang
Empirical Research


Shift-&-persist is a coping strategy that has been shown to lead to positive health outcomes in low-SES youth but has not yet been examined with respect to psychological health. This study tests whether the shift-&-persist coping strategy works in tandem with ethnic-racial identity to protect against depressive symptoms in the face of two uncontrollable stressors: economic hardship and peer discrimination. In a sample of 175 Latinx youth (51.4% female; Mage = 12.9), shift-&-persist buffered the positive relation between economic hardship and depressive symptoms. In terms of peer discrimination, among youth who reported little use of shift and persist, discrimination was related to higher depressive symptoms, whereas youth who reported higher amounts of shift and persist (at and above the mean) were protected and did not evidence this association. However, among youth with high ethnic-racial identity, shift-&-persist failed to protect against the deleterious association between peer discrimination and depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that shift-&-persist is protective for Latinx youth, although the context in which it is protective changes based on the racialized/non-racialized nature of the stressor.


Shift-&-persist Ethnic-racial identity Discrimination Latinx youth 


Authors’ Contributions

All authors contributed significantly intellectually to the current manuscript. K.C. helped conceive the current study from an existing data set, conducted the statistical analyses, and drafted the majority of the manuscript; G.L.S. helped conceive the current study from an existing data set, helped plan the statistical analyses, and edited the manuscript; M.Y.M.R. and M.C. conducted portions of the literature review and manuscript preparation; M.J. contributed to the analytic interpretation and manuscript preparation; L.M.G. and L.K. helped conceive and design the original study, secured funding, contributed to data collection, and helped draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research was supported by internal faculty grants from Wake Forest and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. We thank the participating families, staff, and research assistants who took part in this study. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of Wake Forest and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Data Sharing and Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The La Familia Study was granted ethical approval by the Institutional Review Board (Protocol # 13-087) of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ethical Statements

All authors have complied with the American Psychology Association’s ethical standards in the treatment of our sample.

Informed Consent

Per IRB requirements, all study participants provide informed consent to be in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  2. 2.The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Wake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA

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