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Heart-Focused Anxiety Among Trauma-Exposed Latinx Young Adults: Relations to General Depression, Suicidality, Anxious Arousal, and Social Anxiety

Abstract

Rates of traumatic event exposure, posttraumatic stress (PTS), and co-occurring mental health symptoms and disorders are conditionally higher among Latinx individuals compared to other racial/ethnic populations. Importantly, Latinx persons are a heterogeneous population, and certain subgroups endorse higher rates of negative mental health outcomes than others, including Latinx young adults born in the USA. Yet, there is little understanding of individual difference factors among trauma-exposed US born Latinx young adults that may be involved in mental health burden among this group. The present investigation sought to evaluate the potential explanatory relevance of heart-focused anxiety as an individual difference factor regarding some of the most common co-occurring mental health problems among trauma-exposed populations. Specifically, we tested whether heart-focused anxiety was related to increased co-occurring anxious arousal symptoms, depression, social anxiety, and suicidality among 169 (84% female, Mage=23.15 years, SD=6.07) trauma-exposed Latinx young adults. Results indicated that heart-focused anxiety was a statistically significant predictor of general depression (ΔR2 = .02, F(1, 161) = 4.25, p = .041), suicidality (ΔR2 = .10, F(1, 161) = 21.49, p < .001), anxious arousal (ΔR2 = .11, F(1, 161) = 27.31, p < .001), and social anxiety (ΔR2 = .03, F(1, 161) = 7.93, p = .005). Overall, this work offers empirical evidence that individual differences in heart-focused anxiety are related to more severe co-occurring anxiety and depressive symptomatology among a particularly at risk Latinx segment of the Latinx population (non-immigrant Latinx young adults s with previous trauma history).

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Funding

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the University of Houston under Award Number U54MD015946.

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Mayorga, N.A., Shepherd, J.M., Garey, L. et al. Heart-Focused Anxiety Among Trauma-Exposed Latinx Young Adults: Relations to General Depression, Suicidality, Anxious Arousal, and Social Anxiety. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-021-01054-z

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Keywords

  • Heart-focused anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Latinx
  • Mental health