What is it about?

In this study, which we conducted in collaboration with members of a community agency serving low income Latinx families, we assessed linguistically expressed deportation fears in mothers and examined its association with mental health in this community. We found that observed maternal deportation fears are linked with greater depression for both youth and mothers. However, these associations are only present when the family’s exposure to demographic stress is lower. Providers working with this community should assess which stressors loom largest in families’ lives (e.g., deportation fears, sociodemographic stressors) and target those in order to address familial mental health.

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Why is it important?

Latinx families are disproportionately affected by sociodemographic risk factors such as poverty, which presents a risk for mental health issues and also increase the potential for barriers to mental health care. Mental health disparities among the Latinx community have been linked to recent immigration enforcement and threat of deportation. Our findings help to explicate the adverse consequences of anti-immigrant sentiment through the associations of deportation fear and psychopathology for Latinx youth and their immigrant parents, underscoring the importance of policy, rhetoric, and sociocultural shifts.


It was a great experience working with the co-authors and community health workers to highlight issues pertinent to that of our local Latinx communities. Through this work we were able to demonstrate the lasting effects of anti-immigrant sentiment manifested through sociocultural shifts, media, and policies.

Jose Arreola
University of California Irvine

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Más que palabras: Understanding the mental health and behavioral consequences of sociodemographic risk and deportation fears in Latinx families., Psychological Trauma Theory Research Practice and Policy, September 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/tra0001351.
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