Immigration Enforcement and Hispanic Youth Substance Use: Is Depression a Mediator?

Machele Anderson, Zachary Giano, Karina Shreffler, Ronald B. Cox, Julie M. Croff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hispanic adolescents report earlier onset and higher substance use rates than their non-Hispanic White and Black peers. This study examines the associations between the immigration-related arrest of a family member and substance use among Hispanic early adolescents and explores the mediating role of depressive symptoms as the mechanism explaining the association. We apply a mediated multiple linear regression analysis on 661 Hispanic youth attending 7th grade in an urban school district in a south-central, new arrival state. We found that Hispanic early adolescents who experienced the immigration-related arrest of a family member reported significantly higher substance use than Hispanic youth who did not experience the arrest of a family member due to immigration enforcement. Moreover, we found this relationship to be fully mediated by depressive symptoms. Findings suggest that even though the majority of Hispanic youth in the U.S. are citizens, experiencing the immigration-related arrest of a family member is not uncommon and has critical implications for poor mental health and maladaptive coping behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Hispanic
  • Immigration
  • Substance use
  • Undocumented

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