Self-efficacy model of bicultural stress: A resiliency framework in Latinx college students

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The Latinx population, which is rapidly increasing in the United States (U.S.) and also on college campuses, has some major mental health disparities. One major stressor that they might experience at college is bicultural stress, which is the perceived stress resulting from pressure to adopt both the majority and minority cultures as experienced in ethnically diverse environments. While bicultural stress has been tied to various negative psychological outcomes, there is minimal focus on Latinx college students and positive mental health outcomes within the literature, especially on psychological well-being (PWB). Based on Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), the construct of bicultural self-efficacy, specifically bicultural self-efficacy, can help us understand one potential mechanism by which bicultural stress affects psychological outcomes. While minimal, there is evidence to suggest it can act as a mediating variable between cultural factors and psychological outcomes. The current study was also rooted in the Risk-Protective Model of Resilience, by examining the role of an internal promotive factor (i.e., an asset) on this self-efficacy model of bicultural stress. One such protective factor that has positive implications for various health outcomes, including amongst college populations, is trait mindfulness. Possessing mindful tendencies might act in one’s favor to buffer against the negative effects of bicultural stress and improve bicultural self-efficacy.

To examine two self-efficacy models of bicultural stress (unidimensional and multidimensional), the current study conducted an online survey with Latinx college students across the U.S. The current study used moderated mediation analyses to examine these models and compare their model fit against one another. The findings of the current study revealed that higher bicultural stress is related to poorer psychological outcomes while also highlighting the moderating effect of trait mindfulness on the overall (mediating) self-efficacy model. The results also highlighted the differential outcomes associated with trait mindfulness in Latinx college students struggling with bicultural stress.

These findings suggest that Latinx college students seem to be an increased risk for poor psychological outcomes, based on the type of bicultural stressor they encounter. Their levels of trait mindfulness can serve as a resiliency or risk factor in understanding their mental health outcomes in the face of bicultural stress. Clinical implications are discussed with regards to regular assessments of bicultural stress(ors) and incorporation of ACT techniques to foster positive outcomes.

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Latinx, College, Bicultural Stress, Depression, Psychological Well-Being, Mindfulness, Self-Efficacy