Exploring the Role of Protective Factors on Depressive Symptoms among Mexican American Children.




Jaime Hinojosa, Etienne
Espinoza, Alex
Aguilar, Alejandra
Franks, Susan
Fulda, Kimberly
Espinoza, Anna


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Purpose: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009–2012 dataset revealed that 7.6% of Americans aged 12 and over had depression. Youth, ages 12-17, had a depression rate of 5.7%. Research shows that ethnic disparities in mild, moderate, and severe depressive symptoms exist in Hispanics, compared to Non-Hispanic whites. The objective of this project is to explore the association between protective factors at the individual, relationship, and community level with depressive symptoms among Mexican American children. Materials and Methods: Variables were selected based on the social ecological model. A cross-sectional sample of 144 children, ages 10-14, and their legal guardian were used to examine exposure to seven protective factors: 1) acculturation 2) self-worth 3) positive physical development 4) family meals together 5) parent attendance of child events 6) neighborhood safety and 7) presence of recreation centers. The total number of protective factor exposures was categorized into four levels: 1, 2, 3, ≥ 4 exposures and run in a logistic regression model as the exposure of interest with depressive symptoms as the outcome. Depressive symptoms were evaluated using the Total Score yielded from the CDI 2: Self-Report (Short) version (CDI 2: SR[S]). Depressive symptoms were dichotomized as not having depressive symptoms (Average/Lower Level) and having depressive symptoms (High Average, Elevated, and Very Elevated Levels). Results: Of the boys (51% of sample), 10 (7%) had depressive symptoms, compared to 20 (14%) girls. Logistic regression adjusting for gender shows a relationship between protective factor exposures and depressive symptoms. Poverty, parent income, and BMI were not significantly associated with depressive symptoms and were not included as confounders. The model shows that for each increasing level of protective factor exposure there is a 0.168 (CI: 0.058, 0.490) odds for depressive symptoms. Conclusions: As the number of exposures to protective factors increase in a Mexican American child, the child has reduced odds of having depressive symptoms. Future studies should investigate not only the total number of protective factor exposures, but which type (e.g. individual, relationship, or community level) most impact the etiology of depressive symptoms in Mexican American children.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - 2016 School of Public Health and Public Health Student Association - 3rd Place Poster Presentation