Stress, Coping, and Mexican American Mental Health: A Systematic Review

Richard C. Cervantes, Felipe Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


While there has been a rapid growth in mental health research which focuses on the Mexican American population, differences in theoretical formulations and consequent research methodologies have led to a host of conflicting findings. These conflicting findings are then often difficult to translate into useful clinical applications which would make clinical services more relevant and acceptable to this growing population. One suggested solution to the problem has been to develop more systematic theoretical frameworks for guiding Mexican American mental health research. In this vein a new theoretical model was presented. The model is based upon recent concepts regarding the relationship between psychological stress and consequent physical and/or psychological illnesses. This model includes some important intervening or mediating variables which may serve to aggravate or buffer the aversive impact of exposure to potential stressors. Examination of these intervening variables is of clinical importance in promoting a better understanding of the experience of stress and its relationship to various forms of psychopathology. The model allows for critical examination of those intervening variables which are particularly relevant to Mexican Americans. In addition to presenting this stress-mediation-out-come model, an attempt was made to synthesize extant Mexican American mental health research within the framework of the proposed model. This synthesis served as a basis for identifying conceptual and methodological problems in past research, as well as for identifying current gaps in this large body of research. Finally, an attempt was made to delineate new lines of mental health research which are more consistent with the postulated stress-mediation-outcome model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-73
Number of pages73
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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