Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Bryan Dawson

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda Halliburton

Third Advisor

Dr. Josh Cuevas

Abstract

Hispanics are the largest minority population in the United States today, and the numbers are rising. However, so is the amount of discrimination toward the Hispanic population, and this discrimination often takes a toll on minorities. The present study examined the levels of acculturative stress and its effect on internalizing symptoms (anxiety and depression) and academic engagement. Participants included 209 rural area college students, which were comprised of 140 Caucasian Americans, 50 Hispanics, and 19 students from other racial backgrounds (African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Other). We compiled various scales measuring academic engagement, depression, anxiety, and academic engagement into an online survey. Results indicated that Hispanics experience significant amounts of acculturative stress, and this acculturative stress was a significant predictor of anxiety and depression for these students. Additionally, Hispanic students showed a significantly higher level of depression than their Caucasian counterparts. Lastly, the study found that academic engagement was significantly predicted by depression for Hispanic and Caucasian students and acculturative stress for all students overall. These findings suggest that Hispanic immigrant students in rural areas are vulnerable to mental health problems and would benefit from institutional efforts to support wellness and academic engagement.

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