Perceived Experiences of Discrimination and Latino/a Young Adults’ Personal and Relational Well-being

  • Sarah E. KillorenEmail author
  • J. Kale Monk
  • Melinda A. Gonzales-Backen
  • Gabrielle C. Kline
  • Samantha K. Jones
Empirical Research


US Latino/as experience high rates of discrimination, resulting in personal and relational distress. A sample of 238 Latino/a young adults (Mage = 25.37 years; 57.6% men; 54.4% Mexican) was used to investigate how perceived discrimination was associated with romantic relationship instability via young adults’ depressive symptoms. The moderating roles of ethnic identity and romantic relationship maintenance on these associations were examined. Greater relationship maintenance and ethnic identity affirmation were associated with less depression and relationship instability. Under conditions of high ethnic identity exploration and resolution, the association between discrimination and depressive symptoms was stronger, leading to greater relationship instability. The findings reveal that the protective roles of cultural and relational factors may depend on the stressor and outcomes examined.


Discrimination Ethnic identity Latino/a Romantic relationships 



We would like to thank the participants in our study and acknowledge Sahitya Maiya for her work on the project.

Author Contributions

S.K. designed the study, conducted the analyses, drafted sections of the manuscript, and provided a critical review; J.K.M. designed the study, drafted sections of the manuscript, and provided a critical review; M.G.B. participated in the study design, drafted sections of the manuscript, and provided a critical review; G.K. drafted a section of the manuscript; S.J. drafted a section of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


Funding was provided by the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Missouri and the USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture, Hatch Project 1006258 awarded to Sarah Killoren.

Data Sharing and Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures were approved in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review board (University of Missouri IRB; protocol number: 2011936) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments of comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family Science DepartmentUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Child SciencesThe Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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