Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 457–470 | Cite as

The Longitudinal Associations Between Discrimination, Depressive Symptoms, and Prosocial Behaviors in U.S. Latino/a Recent Immigrant Adolescents

  • Alexandra N. DavisEmail author
  • Gustavo Carlo
  • Seth J. Schwartz
  • Jennifer B. Unger
  • Byron L. Zamboanga
  • Elma I. Lorenzo-Blanco
  • Miguel Ángel Cano
  • Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati
  • Assaf Oshri
  • Cara Streit
  • Miriam M. Martinez
  • Brandy Piña-Watson
  • Karina Lizzi
  • Daniel Soto
Empirical Research


The links between discrimination and adjustment in U.S. Latino/a immigrant adolescents is an important but understudied phenomenon. We aimed to investigate the longitudinal associations (across 1 year) among discrimination, prosocial behaviors, and depressive symptoms in U.S. Latino immigrant adolescents using two competing models: associations between discrimination and prosocial behaviors via depressive symptoms (mental health strain model), and associations between discrimination and depressive symptoms via prosocial behaviors (prosociality strain model). Participants were 302 Latino/a recent immigrant adolescents (53.3 % boys, M age = 14.51 years at Time 1, SD = .88 years) who completed measures of discrimination, depressive symptoms, and prosocial behaviors at 6-month intervals. The results provided support for both proposed models. The discussion examines the importance of prosocial behaviors in understanding adjustment and effects of discrimination among recently immigrated U.S. Latino adolescents.


Discrimination Depressive symptoms Prosocial behaviors U.S. Latina/o youth 



The research presented here was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse grant DA026594 (Seth J. Schwartz and Jennifer B. Unger, Principal Investigators). We would like to thank Maria-Rosa Velazquez, Tatiana Clavijo, Mercedes Prado, Alba Alfonso, Aleyda Marcos, Daisy Ramirez, Lissette Ramirez, and Perlita Carrillo for their hard work conducting assessments and tracking families. We would also like to thank Dr. Judy Arroyo for her guidance and wisdom. Finally, we would like to thank the study families for sharing their experiences with us.

Author Contributions

AND conceived the study, conducted the analyses, and was primarily responsible for writing the manuscript. GC helped with study development and assisted with writing and revising the manuscript. SJS and JBU were the principal investigators on the COPAL project and provided extensive feedback on the data analyses and manuscript drafts. BLZ, ELB, MMM, AO, and BMPW were collaborators on the COPAL team and provided feedback on the manuscript. LB was part of the COPAL research team and provided feedback on the manuscript. CS assisted with manuscript development and provided feedback throughout the process. KL and DS managed the COPAL data collection.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra N. Davis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gustavo Carlo
    • 2
  • Seth J. Schwartz
    • 3
  • Jennifer B. Unger
    • 4
  • Byron L. Zamboanga
    • 5
  • Elma I. Lorenzo-Blanco
    • 6
  • Miguel Ángel Cano
    • 7
  • Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati
    • 8
  • Assaf Oshri
    • 9
  • Cara Streit
    • 1
  • Miriam M. Martinez
    • 1
  • Brandy Piña-Watson
    • 10
  • Karina Lizzi
    • 11
  • Daniel Soto
    • 12
  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Leonard M. Miller School of MedicineUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  4. 4.Institute for Prevention Research (IPR)University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Smith CollegeNorthamptonUSA
  6. 6.Barnwell CollegeUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  7. 7.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  8. 8.University of South CarolinaLos AngelesUSA
  9. 9.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  10. 10.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  11. 11.InVentiv Health ClinicalPrincetonUSA
  12. 12.Krek School of MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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