Immigration and Stress: High Depression and Suicide Attempts Linked To Acculturative Stress in Indiana’s Latino Teens

Immigration and Stress Depression Suicide Acculturative Stress
Immigration and Stress – Indiana’s Latino Teens

Recently, a community-based study on the acculturative stress–depression link was presented at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, Nov. 17.

The term acculturation, coined in 1880 by John W. Powell refers to the modification of the culture of a group or individual as a result of contact with a different culture.

According to the New World Encyclopedia, in the modern multicultural societies, “a child of an immigrant family might be encouraged to acculturate both the culture where they live and their ancestral culture, either of which may be considered ‘foreign’, but are, in fact, both integral parts of the child’s development”.

Acculturative stress related to immigration is known to contribute to anxiety in adults, but parental acculturative stress also appears to affect their children’s anxiety symptoms.

Silvia Bigatti and Richard Fairbanks, and their team from the School of Public Health at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis based their research on epidemiological health disparities data indicating that Latino teens in Indiana have a 65 percent higher rate of suicide attempts and a 24 percent higher rate of depression than white teens.

The research team reports that nearly 60 percent of the study’s participants had some level of depression, which was much higher than expected. Those who had moderate levels of acculturative stress were 10 times more likely to have depression.

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