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Bicultural Stress, Identity Formation, and Alcohol Expectancies and Misuse in Hispanic Adolescents: A Developmental Approach

Abstract

Hispanic immigrant youth engage in increased health risk behaviors, such as alcohol misuse, due in part to being confronted with acculturative stress in addition to facing major normative developmental challenges, such as identity consolidation (Berry et al. in Appl Psychol 55:303–332, 2006). Using a developmental psychopathology framework, in the present study we examined the effect of bicultural stress on alcohol misuse among immigrated Hispanic adolescents, indirectly through trajectories of identity formation and alcohol expectancies. Our sample consisted of 302 recently immigrated Hispanic adolescents (53 % male; Mage = 14.5 at baseline) who were interviewed every 6 months for 3 years. Bivariate growth curve modeling was used to examine the influence of initial early bicultural stress on later alcohol misuse via change in identity development (i.e., coherence and confusion) and subsequent growth in cognitive alcohol expectancies. Findings revealed that initial levels and growth of identity coherence were not significantly associated with either bicultural stress or tension reduction (TR) alcohol expectancies. Multiple mediation analyses indicated that the effect of bicultural stress at time 1 on the frequency of being drunk at time 6 was mediated via high initial levels of identity confusion, followed by growth in risky TR expectancies (T4–T6). A developmental approach to the genesis of alcohol use problems in immigrant youth is discussed.

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Notes

  1. An Mplus warning message regarding the standard errors of the parameter estimates prompted us to reanalyze the data without the COMPLEX estimator. Results of model parameters with and without the TYPE = COMPLEX option were not significantly different (not in significant and very minor standardized parameter estimates <.01).

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Acknowledgments

The current study was supported by Grant DA025694, Co-funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Seth J. Schwartz, Principal Investigator).

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have conflicts of interest in any form. This study was previously approved by all appropriate Institutional Review Boards. All of the authors have reviewed the submitted manuscript and are in agreement.

Author contributions

AO led the manuscript writing and conducted the statistical analyses. SJS and JBU secured the funding for the project and served as principal investigators. SEDR, KML, DWS, and JAV managed the project and oversaw data collection. JAK conducted the statistical analyses and edited drafts of the manuscript. EIL-B, and DC edited drafts and collaborated on manuscript writing. LB-G and JS served as senior advisors on the project and collaborated on manuscript writing. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Oshri, A., Schwartz, S.J., Unger, J.B. et al. Bicultural Stress, Identity Formation, and Alcohol Expectancies and Misuse in Hispanic Adolescents: A Developmental Approach. J Youth Adolescence 43, 2054–2068 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-014-0171-2

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Keywords

  • Bicultural stress
  • Identity development
  • Hispanic immigrant adolescents
  • Alcohol use