Psychosocial factors associated with depressive symptoms among latina immigrants living in a new arrival community

Martha I.Zapata Roblyer, Fiorella L. Carlos, Michael J. Merten, Kami Gallus, Joseph G. Grzywacz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined the mental health of foreign-born Latinas living in new immigrant destinations. We examined levels of depressive symptoms and depression caseness (i.e., clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms) and psychosocial correlates among foreign-born Latinas living in a new immigrant destination. One hundred fourteen Latinas participated: 93% Mexican-born (Mage = 37.3 years, SD = 5.7, age range = 25-53 years). Most of the women (86%) had been in the United States 10 years or longer but did not have legal documents (80.7%). Depressive symptoms were measured with a short version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Depression caseness was defined as a score of 10 or higher on the short CES-D. Age, education, family income, time living in the United States, family cohesion, social support, undocumented status, and undocumented stress were examined as correlates of depressive symptoms and depression caseness. The mean level of depressive symptoms was 5.5, and 17.5% of participants met the criteria for depression caseness. Regression analysis showed that both lower family cohesion and lower social support were associated with greater depressive symptoms but that only lower social support was associated with depression caseness. Undocumented women experienced higher levels of undocumented stress than did documented women; however, they neither reported more depressive symptoms nor were they more likely to meet the criterion for depression caseness. Helping foreign-born Latinas strengthen their family cohesion and social support, as well as fostering support services for immigrant women and their families, could contribute to fewer depressive symptoms and better mental health among this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-117
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Latina/o Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression caseness
  • Latinas
  • Psychosocial stressors
  • Resilience
  • Undocumented immigrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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