Acculturation and Health of Mexican-American and Chinese-American Youth (Pilot Study)

Acculturation and Health of Mexican-American and Chinese-American Youth (Pilot Study)

Longitudinal Pathways Linking Acculturation and Family Factors to Risky Sexual Behavior, Substance Use and Depressive Symptoms among Mexican-American and Chinese-American Youth

Principal Investigators: Angela Chen and Mary Gillmore


Funding: National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, center grant award P20 MD002316 NIMHD (2007-2009)


This pilot study examined level of acculturation and family factors in relation to Mexican-American and Chinese-American youth’s risky sexual behavior, substance use and depressive symptoms over time. The aims of this study wee to: (1) Describe the trajectories of risky sexual behavior, substance use and depressive symptoms, and determine whether there are differences by gender and acculturation level; (2) Describe the trajectories of family factors and determine whether they differ by race/ethnicity, gender and acculturation level; (3) Determine whether changes in family factors predict changes in risky sexual behavior, substance use and depressive symptoms; and (4) Test a model that hypothesizes that acculturation level interacts with family factors to influence risky sexual behavior, substance use and depressive symptoms over time. This study utilized data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally-representative school-based study that explores the causes of health-related behaviors of 20,745 adolescents in grades 7-12 with an over sampling of racial/ethnic minorities. The sample includes self-identified Mexican-American and Chinese-American youth.

Updates in Findings or Study Aims:

  • Research activities and data analysis completed.


Chen, A. C. C., Gance-Cleveland, B., Kopak, A., Haas, S. & Gillmore, M. R. (2010). Engaging families to prevent substance use among Latino youth. Journal of Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 15(4), 324-328. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6155.2010.00248.x

Chen, A. C. C., Haas, S., Gillmore, M. R., & Kopak, A. (2011). Trajectories of depressive symptoms from adolescence to young adulthood: Chinese Americans vs. non-Hispanic Whites. Research in Nursing and Health, 34, 176-191. doi: 10.1002/nur.20429.  Read full article PMCID: PMC3101107

Gillmore, M. R., Chen, A. C. C., Haas, S., Kopak, A., & Robillard, A. (2011). Do family and parenting factors in adolescence influence condom use in early adulthood in a multiethnic sample of young adults?  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 1503-1516.  doi: 10.1007/s10964-011-9631-0 NIHMSID:NIHMS387085

Kopak, A., Chen, A. C.C., Haas, S., & Gillmore, M. (2012).  The importance of family factors to protect against substance use-related problems among Mexican heritage and White youth. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 124, 1–2, 34–41 doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.12.004. Read full article PMCID: PMC3337392

Related articles:

Chen, A. C. C., Morrison-Beedy, D., & Han, C.-s. (2010). Assessing linguistic and cultural equivalency of two Chinese-version sexual instruments among Chinese immigrant youth. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 25, 194–201. doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2009.01.004

Chen, A.C.C. & Thompson, E. A. (2007). Preventing adolescent risky sexual behaviors: Parents matter! Journal of Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 12, 2, 119-122. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6155.2007.00101.x

Chen, A. C. C., Thompson, E. A., & Morrison-Beedy, D. (2010). Multi-system influences on adolescent risky sexual behavior. Research in Nursing and Health, 33, 512-527. doi:10.1002/nur.20409

Liu, L. L., Lau, A. S., Chen, A. C. C., Dinh, K. T., & Kim, S. Y. (2009). The influence of maternal acculturation, neighborhood disadvantage, and parenting on Chinese American adolescents’ conduct problems: Testing the segmented assimilation hypothesis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 691-702. doi:10.1007/s10964-008-9275-x. Read full article PMCID: PMC2737107