Externalizing behavior problems in young Latino children: Examining the relationship between maternal acculturative stress, perceived parenting self-efficacy and traditional cultural values



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The literature on Latino families is limited in several ways. Little is known about the effect of acculturative stress on parenting behaviors, and children behavioral outcomes. Furthermore, the relationship between acculturative stress, parenting self-efficacy and children outcomes has not been examined in this population. The literature has explored the individual effects of acculturative stress on specific populations (e.g., Latino college students), however, less is known about the effects of parental acculturative stress on children’s adjustment. Similarly, little is known about the influence of traditional cultural values on parenting and children’s behavioral outcomes in Latino families. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal acculturative stress and perceived parenting self-efficacy in Mexican-origin mothers, as well as the impact that adhering to traditional Latino cultural values (e.g., respect and familism) might have on behavioral problems in young Latino children. Participants were 91 mothers of Mexican-origin aged 18 to 35 years with children aged 2 to 6 years. Results suggested that maternal acculturative stress is a significant predictor of externalizing behavior problems in young Mexican-origin children. Moreover, results indicated that maternal familism did not significantly predict externalizing behavior problems when considering demographic variables. Finally, maternal respect did not predict externalizing behavior problems, and parenting self-efficacy was not related to acculturative stress nor mediated the relationship between acculturative stress and externalizing behavior problems. The findings of this study have relevant assessment and treatment implications. Methodological and clinical implications of these results are discussed as well as limitations and future directions for research.



Acculturative stress, Parenting self-efficacy, Externalizing behavior problems