Resilience, civic engagement, cultural values, perceived discrimination and the unique mental health needs of DACA eligible Mexican immigrants
Merrifield, Jennifer Nicole
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Mexican immigrants continue to comprise a large portion of the minority population in the United States, yet they remain underrepresented across all sociopolitical domains, including behavioral healthcare and mental health research. This study documents the experiences of Mexican-origin immigrants who are eligible for, or currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Qualtrics was used to collect data via online questionnaires completed by 95 adults across the country. Direct and indirect relationships between resilience, perceived ethnic discrimination, civic engagement, and cultural values were examined. An additional aim of this study was to explore the psychological needs of participants and their communities. Therefore, respondents also completed a mental health needs assessment. Initial regression analyses revealed perceived ethnic discrimination and Mexican American cultural values served as significant predictors of resilience. Perceived discrimination was not significantly correlated with resilience; thus, no predictive relationships were found. Familismo accounted for most of the variance in the model among cultural values in predicting resilience. Civic engagement and familismo were the only significant predictors of resiliency in this sample. In addition, two significant interaction effects were found. The first revealed that religious cultural values strengthened the predictive effects of civic engagement on resilience. The second interaction showed that as levels of perceived discrimination levels increased, the relationship between familismo and resilience became stronger. The highest endorsed mental health concerns were Fear of Deportation, Experiencing Discrimination/Racism, Problems regarding Career Choice, and Nervousness. Results of this study lend support for therapeutic efforts that foster familismo values and civic engagement behaviors. In addition, DACA eligible Mexican immigrants may benefit from discussing perceived discrimination with mental health providers.