Family Coping among Mexican-Origin Immigrants: Links to Child Mental Health

Catherine De Carlo Santiago*, Anna M. Ros, Laura M.L. Distel, Jaclyn Lennon Papadakis, Stephanie A. Torres, Stephanie K. Brewer, Anne K. Fuller, Yvita Bustos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Family and culture play primary roles in the development of positive mental health functioning for Latino youth. This study utilized observational methods to assess family coping strategies among a population at risk for high levels of stress. Methods: Participants were 104 Mexican-origin immigrant families with a child between the ages of 6–10 (Mage = 8.39; 61% female). Families completed a set of audio- and video-recorded observational interaction tasks involving hypothetical situations relevant to low-income immigrant families and appropriate for discussion with young children, in which families were asked to discuss how they would manage or respond to the situation. Following observational tasks, questionnaire measures of familism and mental health were administered verbally. Results: Longitudinal regression analyses showed that observed family reframing and family problem solving were associated with better mental health functioning over one year among children. However, passive appraisal, mobilizing support from the community, and spiritual support were linked to worse mental health outcomes over time for children. Familism showed significant moderation in only one model, suggesting effects of family coping may not differ across levels of familism. Conclusions: Family reframing and family problem solving may be important factors to consider in the promotion of child mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-194
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Familism
  • Family coping
  • Immigrant
  • Mental health
  • Mexican-origin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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