Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 307–333 | Cite as

Global Self-Worth in Latino Youth: The Role of Acculturation and Acculturation Risk Factors

  • Theresa L. Kapke
  • Alyson C. Gerdes
  • Kathryn E. Lawton
Original Paper



Despite Latino youth being at increased risk of developing mental health problems, they are less likely to receive adequate treatment (Gonzales et al. in Handbook of U.S. Latino psychology: developmental and community-based perspectives. Sage, Thousand Oaks, pp 115–134, 2009; Romero et al. in Ethn Health 12(5):443–463, 2007; Smokowski et al. in J Community Psychol 37(8):1024–1045, 2009; Flores in Pediatrics 125(4):e979–e1020, 2010). Better understanding of the factors that influence psychosocial outcomes for Latino youth is crucial to addressing existing mental health disparities.


In order to build on existing knowledge of factors that promote positive mental health outcomes for Latino youth, the current study examined sociocultural influences on Latino early adolescents’ global self-worth. In particular, researchers investigated the effects of acculturation and acculturation risk factors on early adolescents’ perceptions of global self-worth.


Seventy-nine Latino early adolescents completed a series of questionnaires assessing behavioral and cognitive aspects of acculturation (i.e., ethnic culture of origin, US mainstream culture, and biculturalism), acculturation risk factors (i.e., acculturation stress, acculturation conflict, and perceived ethnic discrimination), and global self-worth.


Results suggested that specific cultural orientations were associated with increased global self-worth, and increased levels of acculturation risk factors were associated with decreased global self-worth. Acculturation conflict was the most salient predictor of global self-worth, and regression analyses indicated that the effects of acculturation stress, acculturation conflict, and perceived ethnic discrimination on global self-worth depended on youth’s cultural orientation on the behavioral and cognitive measures of acculturation.


Results indicate the importance of assessing both cognitive and behavioral aspects of acculturation, as well as the way in which acculturation moderates the relation between acculturation risk factors and early adolescents’ perceptions of global self-worth.


Acculturation Latino/a Self-worth Self-esteem Adolescence 



We would like to thank the staff and family members from the United Community Center/Centro de la Comunidad Unida, Nativity Jesuit Middle School, and Notre Dame Middle School for all of their support and collaboration. We also would like to thank the Marquette University Committee on Research for their financial support.


This study was funded by the Marquette University Committee on Research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they do not have any conflicts of interest.

Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theresa L. Kapke
    • 1
  • Alyson C. Gerdes
    • 1
  • Kathryn E. Lawton
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Cramer Hall, 317Marquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.NorthShore University HealthSystemChicagoUSA

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