Sociocultural Influences on Psychological Processes

Considerable research is documenting how sociocultural factors influence psychological processes in important ways. Much of our attention has focused on depression among low-income, urban minority children among whom some research is documenting lower-than-expected rates of depression given the increased risk for experiencing negative life events. More recently, we have been collaborating with Dr. Wendy Grolnick to examine the sociocultural influences on one dimension of parenting behavior: the provision of structure. This research has been funded by NARSAD and the William T. Grant Foundation.

The Immigrant Health Paradox: The role of religiosity
(PI: Moreno) [Recently Completed]
Using both quantitative methods (reanalysis of NLAAS dataset) and qualitative interview methods, we investigate the role of religiosity in the finding that first-generation Mexican immigrants have lower rates of mental and substance use disorders than subsequent generations. We have one paper from this project under review, and we currently have a second one in progress.

Parental structure in families of adolescents
(PIs: Grolnick & Cardemil) [Recently Completed]
This project is seeking to delineate the way parents provide structure to their children in three different domains of life: academics, unsupervised time and responsibilities. 100 European American and 100 Latino mothers and their children participate in an interview and self-report study designed to assess how families implement structure in their cultural and ecological contexts. We currently have one paper from this project in press and one under review.

Emotional expressivity and adjustment in urban, adolescent males
(PI: Pollastri) [Recently Completed]
Using a multi-method (videotaped interactions, questionnaires, interviews), multi-informant approach (self-report, peer report, observational coding), this study explored the relationship between emotional expressivity and social-emotional adjustment in a sample of 183 late adolescent males living in a low-income, urban environment. Results generally indicated that urban boys who exhibit low emotionally expressivity can be protected from poor socio-emotional outcomes as long as they exhibit flexibility to express vulnerable emotion when in a safe context; i.e., when they are disclosing to trusted friends. We are currently writing up these results for publication.

Cultural values, emotion suppression, and adjustment in urban adolescents
(PI: Davidson) [Recently Completed]
This study examined the extent to which adherence to particular cultural values might affect the relationship between emotion suppression and adjustment in a sample of urban adolescents. Contrary to prior research that had consistently documented the negative effects of emotion suppression, this study found that emotion suppression was only associated with negative adjustment in the presence of negative life events. Further, when adolescents experienced high levels of negative life events, adherence to the cultural value of familismo buffered the negative effects of emotion suppression, while adherence to European American values adversely influenced these negative effects. We are currently writing up these results for publication.