Coping and Culture: The Protective Effects of Shift-&-Persist and Ethnic-Racial Identity on Depressive Symptoms in Latinx Youth

N Keita Christophe, Gabriela Livas Stein, Michelle Y Martin Romero, Michele Chan, Michaeline Jensen, Laura M Gonzalez, Lisa Kiang
Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2019 May 27
Shift-&-persist is a coping strategy that has been shown to lead to positive health outcomes in low-SES youth but has not yet been examined with respect to psychological health. This study tests whether the shift-&-persist coping strategy works in tandem with ethnic-racial identity to protect against depressive symptoms in the face of two uncontrollable stressors: economic hardship and peer discrimination. In a sample of 175 Latinx youth (51.4% female; Mage  = 12.9), shift-&-persist buffered the positive relation between economic hardship and depressive symptoms. In terms of peer discrimination, among youth who reported little use of shift and persist, discrimination was related to higher depressive symptoms, whereas youth who reported higher amounts of shift and persist (at and above the mean) were protected and did not evidence this association. However, among youth with high ethnic-racial identity, shift-&-persist failed to protect against the deleterious association between peer discrimination and depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that shift-&-persist is protective for Latinx youth, although the context in which it is protective changes based on the racialized/non-racialized nature of the stressor.

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