Effects of Family Network on Mental Health among Latino Immigrants in the United States

Sun Y. Jeon, Utah State University

Previous studies have suggested that foreign-born Latinos tend to exhibit better mental health outcomes than do U.S.-born Latinos, despite greater socioeconomic hardship and acculturation stress after migration. In this paper, I aimed to empirically test the extant argument that the stronger family network among foreign-born Latinos helps them stay mentally healthier than their U.S.-born counterparts. Using 2002–2003 data from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS), I compared the level of family networking between foreign-born and U.S.-born Latinos and then estimated the effects of the family network on Latinos’ mental well-being in conjunction with the effects of other social network variables (i.e. friendship and neighborhood) and socioeconomic variables (i.e. household income, education attainment, and work status). The results suggest that foreign-born Latinos are likely to experience significantly stronger family cohesion than U.S.-born Latinos are, which largely contributes to the reduced probability of experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Health of Women, Children, and Families