There are over 40 million immigrants currently residing in the United States. Hispanics represent over 14 million of that total. Approximately ¼ of adolescents in the U.S. are from immigrant families. Between 2000 and 2012 California reported the largest immigrant growth than any other state.
Adolescents make up the fastest growing segment of the youth population in the United States. Adolescence is a time of exploration, experimentation and rebellion. This is the developmental stage where one is striving to form his/her identity. Adolescent Hispanic immigrants are trying to figure out who they are, what their values are and who they want to be. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is fraught with the challenges of identity. Hispanic adolescents have the added stress of the acculturation process. This process comes with its own unique set of challenges. Stressors emerge that may become even more problematic than the normative stressors of adolescence. Anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation have been seen to impact this population, however the research has shown that these symptoms do decrease with time and that familism, ethnic identity and collective self-esteem can act as protective factors. In addition, grief work, individual treatment and family support aid in the development of a strong sense of self.
Written By Judy Grant from WVCC
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