Clarifying the Relation of Acculturative Stress and Anxiety/Depressive Symptoms: The Role of Anxiety Sensitivity Among Hispanic College Students

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Abstract

Objectives: Recent work has highlighted the link between acculturative stress and depression/anxiety symptoms among Hispanic young adults, but the nature of these relations is not well understood. The present study aimed to clarify the relation between acculturative stress and depression/anxiety symptoms by examining anxiety sensitivity, globally and via subfactors, as an explanatory variable. Method: A cross-sectional sample of 788 Hispanic college students (80.8% female; Mage = 20.83 years, SD = 1.93) was recruited from a southwestern public university and completed an online self-report assessment battery. Results: Acculturative stress exerted an indirect effect, via the global construct of anxiety sensitivity, on depression symptoms, suicidality, anxious arousal, and social anxiety symptoms. Follow-up simultaneous analytic models demonstrated indirect effects via the anxiety sensitivity subfactors that were pathognomonic with each of the specific affective outcomes. Conclusions: These findings suggest the utility of assessing and targeting anxiety sensitivity in the treatment of acculturative stress-related depression/anxiety problems among Hispanic college students.

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