Mmigration effects on parenting, stress, and risky sex among hispanic immigrant youth

Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, Alexander T. Vazsonyi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


For decades, there has been the generalized view that cultural differences from the country of origin and the host country threaten family relations and exacerbate the risk for immigrant youth to engage in unhealthy and risky behaviors. It has been argued that immigrant families' values, beliefs, and parenting practices are different from the ones found in the host country or are forced to change during the process of adaptation to the host culture, thus, affecting children's developmental outcomes (Isralowitz & Slonim-Nevo, 2002; Nauck, 2001). In the particular case of Hispanic immigrant youth, alarming official statistics on risky sexual behaviors appear to support this notion. Hispanic youth are reported to be at an increased risk for STDs, having sexual intercourse before age 13, and having four or more sexual partners (CDC, 2000; YRBS, 2004). Yet, limited scholarship exists on how parenting processes and perceived stress (e.g., limited social networks, unreceptive school environment) predict risky sexual behaviors across generations of Hispanic immigrant adolescents. Using a subsample from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health; Waves I & II), the current study examined the potential changes over time in parenting practices (e.g., monitoring, support, and communication) and stress (e.g., psychological well-being, perceived social support, perceived school stress) across 1st and 2nd generation immigrant Hispanic youth (N= 2,016) and their relationships to risky sexual behaviors. Even though GLM results show that maternal parenting and stress constructs indeed changed over time, changes were not significantly different across generational groups. In addition, maternal monitoring, maternal support, and measures of stress emerged as key predictors of risky sexual behaviors across both 1st and 2nd generation Hispanic immigrant youth over time, whereas no moderation effects were found by immigration status on developmental processes across generational groups. Therefore, findings suggest that even though cultural adaptation to the host culture might represent a stressful process as documented by previous literature (e.g., Pérez & Padilla, 2000; Rueschenberg & Buriel, 1989), immigration and stress do not appear to significantly affect parenting behaviors over time or their links to risky sexual behaviors across generations of Hispanic immigrant youth.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Parenting
Subtitle of host publicationStyles, Stresses, and Strategies
Number of pages26
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Hispanic immigrant youth
  • Parenting
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


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