Latina adolescents are at increased risk for developing symptoms of psychological distress. They often face higher levels of poverty and lower education levels than other adolescent groups, in addition to experiencing acculturative stressors associated with immigration. Adolescent Latina mothers also experience additional stressors related to parenting at a young age. Social support has been shown to reduce risk for psychological distress; however, there are several factors that influence this relation. In the current study, the association of perceived social support from adolescent mothers’ own mothers and fathers on psychological distress was examined. Familism, a traditional family-centric Latino value, was examined as a potential moderator in the relation between social support and distress, as mothers who endorse more familistic values may take advantage of support provided by grandmothers and grandfathers better than mothers who endorse fewer values.
Preliminary correlations revealed that support from adolescents’ own mothers and fathers was associated with lower distress. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that after controlling for maternal age, economic strain, and negative life events, mother support was no longer associated with lower distress; father support was still associated with lower distress. Additionally, familism did not moderate the relationship between social support and distress for mother or father support. Findings contribute to body of research on father support, but further research is needed to examine the quality and importance of support providers to determine why there were differences in distress symptoms between those perceiving mother and father support.
Dr. Josefina Grau
Adolescent Latina mothers are at increased risk for developing symptoms of psychological distress. High levels of poverty, acculturative stressors, and less education than other adolescents compound with stressors associated with parenting at a young age. Social support has been shown to reduce the risk of psychological distress, but several factors influence that relation. The current study examines associations between social support from adolescents’ mothers and fathers and psychological distress, and how the associations may be moderated by familism. Results indicated that mother support was not related to lower distress but father support did. Familism did not moderate these relations. Findings expand research on grandfather support, but further research is needed to examine why there were differences in distress between mother and father support.