Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 189–199 | Cite as

Parent–Child Cultural Value Gaps and Depressive Symptoms Among Mexican American Youth

  • Gabriela Livas Stein
  • Antonio J. Polo
Original Paper


Cultural value gaps between Mexican American parents and their children are hypothesized to place youth at risk for poor mental health outcomes. While most studies examine these gaps on broad measures of acculturation, the present study examined value gaps in affiliative obedience, a cultural value that has at its core the belief that respect and deference must be shown to parents and adults. The present study hypothesized that adolescents would exhibit greater depressive symptoms when youth demonstrated lower levels of affiliative obedience than their mothers. Moreover, we examined whether gender, nativity status, and age predicted cultural value gaps and moderated the relationship between gaps and depressive symptoms. These questions were evaluated in a school-based sample of 159 Mexican American families whose children were either US born (n = 82) or foreign-born (n = 77). Twenty-five percent of the sample demonstrated a cultural value gap where youth endorsed lower levels of affiliative obedience than their parents, and this group reported the greatest depressive symptoms. Age moderated this relationship, and the greatest association between cultural value gaps and depression was found among the older group of early adolescents.


Latinos Depressive symptoms Cultural value gaps Immigrant families 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyDepaul UniversityChicagoUSA

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