Acculturation, enculturation, familial intragroup marginalization, and family flexibility among Mexican descent emerging adults: A moderated-mediation model

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2022-08

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Abstract

For Mexican college students, the transition to college comes with added stressors as they try to balance their cultural norms and the cultural norms of college life. The attempt to balance these has been shown to result in lower levels of psychological well-being. Mexican college students might feel as though they may not be living up to their cultural expectations and experience cultural distancing between themselves and their cultural identity, resulting in increased family conflict and familial intragroup marginalization. Familial intragroup marginalization is a chronic stressor seen among Latinx subgroups, and has been associated with higher levels of depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, alcohol use, and lower self-esteem. Given the emphasis placed on family within the Mexican culture and the continuing increase in Mexicans pursuing college education, it is crucial to understand the possible contributors and protective factors of Mexican college student’s mental health. Thus, the present study aimed to evaluate familial intragroup marginalization as a mediator between acculturation and enculturation with Mexican-descent students’ mental health. Additionally, family flexibility was examined as a potential moderator in the association between acculturation and enculturation and intragroup marginalization among Mexican-descent students. The sample consisted of 616 Mexican-descent students. To test the proposed conceptual model, a total of 10 moderated-mediation models were run. The hypothesized moderated mediation models were not supported, although significant trends were found for certain mental health outcomes in the enculturation models. Additionally, family flexibility did not moderate the relationship between acculturation and familial intragroup marginalization nor enculturation and familial intragroup marginalization. Furthermore, the effects of acculturation and enculturation on mental health outcomes resulted in mixed findings. Lastly, increased familial intragroup marginalization was associated with worse mental health for most mental health outcomes. Implications for researchers and clinicians on the mechanisms contributing to Mexican-descent students’ various experiences of acculturation and enculturation are discussed.

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Keywords

Intragroup marginalization, Mexican, Latinos, Latinx, acculturation, enculturation, family flexibility, mental health, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, suicidal ideation, alcohol use, college students

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