MEXICAN DESCENT ADOLESCENT SUICIDALITY, DEPRESSION, HOPELESSNESS, AND LIFE SATISFACTION: THE ROLE OF GENDER AND CAREGIVER CONNECTION
Estephania Yanez, Brandy Piña-Watson.
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX.
U.S. Latina/o youth have significant mental health disparities with outcomes such as suicidality, depression, and other indicators of well-being when compared to youth from other ethnic backgrounds. Latina girls are at a higher risk than Latino boys. Given the Latina/o value of familismo, which places emphasis on family interconnectedness, levels of caregiver-child connection may shed light on these elevated rates. For the present study, we will investigate the relationship of caregiver-child connectedness with suicidality (ideation, plans, and attempts), depression, hopelessness, and life satisfaction for Mexican-descent adolescents. Specifically, we hypothesize that lower levels of caregiver-child connection and being a girl will relate to worse outcomes. Self-report data was collected with a sample of 524 Mexican-descent adolescents (53.1% female, 46.9% male) from the U.S. Texas/Mexico border. A series of linear and logistic regressions were conducted. Results indicated that higher connection with the female caregiver was related to a lower probability of reporting suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts. In terms of the other mental health outcomes, higher levels of both male and female caregiver connection were related to lower levels of depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and higher levels of life satisfaction. Additionally, females reported significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts than boys. It is concluded that male and female caregiver connectedness and gender are differentially associated with various mental health outcomes. This study has the potential to inform family interventions aimed at improving mental health outcomes and could serve to decrease disparities for Mexican-descent adolescents.