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Internalizing Symptoms in Latinos: The Role of Anxiety Sensitivity

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 36 Issue: 4 Dated: May 2007 Pages: 429-440
R. Enrique Varela; Carl F. Weems; Steven L. Berman; Lauren Hensley; Maria Clara Rodriguez de Bernal
Date Published
May 2007
12 pages
This study investigated the roles of anxiety sensitivity, gender, and ethnic minority status in the experience of internalizing symptoms in Latino and non-Latino White adolescents in the United States and Columbian adolescents in Columbia.
Results revealed that anxiety sensitivity and being female predicted anxiety and depressive symptoms but that cultural background was not a significant factor. The findings indicated that anxiety sensitivity did not increase the somatic complaints of Latin American and Columbian youth, although it did increase complaints among the White non-Latino youth. The authors suggest that because fear of anxiety-related phenomenon and physiological symptoms of anxiety may be more normative in Latino culture, anxiety sensitivity does not produce the same impact as it does on non-Latino Whites. The findings further suggest that there is wide cultural variability in internalizing symptoms, which should be addressed in the development of culturally sensitive intervention programming. Future research should consider the role of stress related to immigration in the expression of internalizing symptoms. Participants were: (1) 72 non-Latino White adolescent in grades 10 to 12 attending high school in Florida; (2) 116 Latino adolescents in grades 9 through 12 attending high schools in Florida; and (3) 163 Columbian adolescents attending high schools in Bogota, Columbia. All participants were recruited for voluntary participation through their schools. Participants completed self-report questionnaires that collected information about the internalizing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and somatic symptoms; anxiety sensitivity; and demographic information. Data were analyzed using a series of analyses of covariance calculations and regression models. Tables, figures, references


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