Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and Mental Health in Mexican-Origin Youths and Their Parents: Testing the “Linked Lives” Hypothesis



      Using a life course perspective, the present study tested the concept of “linked lives” applied to the problem of not only how racial/ethnic discrimination may be associated with poor mental health for the target of discrimination but also how discrimination may exacerbate the discrimination-distress link for others in the target's social network—in this case, the family.


      The discrimination-distress link was investigated among 269 Mexican-origin adolescents and their parents both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. It was hypothesized that parents' discrimination experiences would adversely affect their adolescent children's mental health via a moderating effect on the target adolescent discrimination-distress link. The converse was also hypothesized for the target parents. Multilevel moderation analyses were conducted to test the moderating effect of parents' discrimination experiences on the youth discrimination-distress link. We also tested the moderating effect of youths' discrimination experiences on the parent discrimination-distress link.


      Parents' discrimination experiences significantly moderated the longitudinal association between youths' discrimination stress appraisals and mental health, such that the father's discrimination experiences exacerbated the youth discrimination-depression link. Youths' discrimination stress appraisals were not a significant moderator of the cross-sectional parent discrimination-mental health association.


      Implications of these findings are discussed from a linked lives perspective, highlighting how fathers' discrimination experiences can adversely affect youths who are coping with discrimination, in terms of their mental health.


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      Linked Article

      • Erratum
        Journal of Adolescent HealthVol. 63Issue 6
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          In Park IJK et al. Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and Mental Health in Mexican-Origin Youths and Their Parents: Testing the “Linked Lives” Hypothesis. J Adoles Health 2018;62:480-487, doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.10.010, the description of the participants (p.482) should have specified that the father sample (n = 236) included not only 187 biological fathers, but also 24 stepfathers, 10 residential partners (married or co-habiting father figures), and 15 non-parental “father figures” (e.g., brothers, uncles, etc.).
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