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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Role of Psychological Flexibility in the Hispanic Paradox
by Caldas, Stephanie V., M.S., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2014, 163; 1585849
Abstract (Summary)

The Hispanic population is the fastest growing ethnicity in the United States, with two-thirds of this growth accounted for by births in the country. Yet, the Hispanic population still remains the target of discrimination and prejudice. Furthermore, there is a generational trend towards worse health outcomes in the U.S. Hispanic population, known as the Hispanic Paradox. Given that behavioral, health, and mental health problems in the Hispanic population is increasing along with the growth in later generation Hispanics, there is an important need to explore the factors in the Hispanic Paradox that may be relevant for preventive public health.

The literature suggests that cultural factors associated with acculturation, such as strength of ethnic identity and perceived discrimination likely play a role in the Hispanic Paradox. This study investigates a functional interpretation of the existing research in terms of psychological flexibility, with the goal of integrating descriptive accounts of the phenomena into a functional construct that can be used in therapeutic and community settings. More specifically, it was hypothesized that psychological flexibility processes would mediate the relationship between strength of ethnic identity and perceived discrimination, and mental health.

A sample of Hispanics (n = 177) completed surveys with questions about their generation status, strength of ethnic identity, perceived discrimination, psychological flexibility and mental health. Mediation models were created using SEM (structural equation modeling) to test for the relationships between psychological flexibility processes (experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, valued living), generation status, acculturation factors, and mental health. In line with previous research, later generation Hispanics were more likely to experience psychological stress. As predicted, results suggest that acculturation factors mediate the relationship between generation status and psychological flexibility, and that psychological flexibility mediates the relationship between acculturation factors and mental health.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Perkins, Rick
Commitee: Breaux, Brooke, Sandoz, Emily, Villatte, Matthieu
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Social psychology, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: Hispanic paradox, Psychological flexibility
Publication Number: 1585849
ISBN: 978-1-321-65540-7
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