Impacts of Immigration Actions and News and the Psychological Distress of U.S. Latino Parents Raising Adolescents

Kathleen M. Roche, Elizabeth Vaquera, Rebecca M.B. White, Maria Ivonne Rivera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Purpose: U.S. Latino parents of adolescents face unprecedented threats to family stability and well-being due to rapid and far-reaching transformations in U.S. immigration policy. Methods: Two hundred thirteen Latino parents of adolescents were recruited from community settings in a suburb of a large mid-Atlantic city to complete surveys assessing parents' psychological distress and responses to immigration actions and news. Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to describe the prevalence of parents' responses to immigration news and actions across diverse residency statuses. Multiple logistic regression models examined associations between immigration-related impacts and the odds of a parent's high psychological distress. Results: Permanent residents, temporary protected status, and undocumented parents reported significantly more negative immigration impacts on psychological states than U.S. citizens. Parents reporting frequent negative immigration-related impacts had a significantly higher likelihood of high psychological distress than did other parents, and these associations were maintained even when accounting for parents' residency status, gender, education, and experience with deportation or detention. The odds of a parent reporting high psychological distress due to negative immigration impacts ranged from 2.2 (p <.05) to 10.4 (p <.001). Conclusions: This is one of the first empirical accounts of how recent immigration policy changes and news have impacted the lives of Latino families raising adolescent children. Harmful impacts were manifest across a range of parent concerns and behaviors and are strong correlates of psychological distress. Findings suggest a need to consider pathways to citizenship for Latina/o parents so that these parents, many of whom are legal residents, may effectively care for their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-531
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Adolescents
  • Immigration
  • Latino Families
  • Parent Psychological Distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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