By Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDCreative Commons Licensing [Flickr, Insignificance, February 24, 2008]When cultural values (such as the importance of family) conflict with other demands, the resulting stress can lead to a mental health issue. Alamilla, Kim, and Lam examined ethnic identity, cultural change, and mental health in a group of 130 Latino/a students at a predominately European American university to determine what influence cultural change would have on symptoms of anxiety, hostility, and somatization (complaints about physical symptoms not caused by physical disease) .The 130 students of Latino background (74 women and 56 men), 31% were first generation, 59% were second generation, 5% were third generation, and 5% were fourth, fifth, or did not report generation status. The students were assessed to determine:Adherence to traditional Latino/a values such as an emphasis on family, respect, dignity, and cultural prideOrientation towards a traditional Latino value system compared with a traditional Anglo cultureEthnic/minority student stresses (e.g., social climate, interracial relationships, discrimination)Perceived racismPsychological symptomsThe results of the study indicated that the higher the perceived racism, the higher the levels of anxiety, hostility, and somatic symptoms, regardless of level of acculturation. Minority student stresses were also found to predict psychological symptoms. Interestingly, level of acculturation or type of values did not seem to predict adjustment. This means that, while level of acculturation and type of values might be important in some regards, sense of racism, or stressors relating to being a minority can have a much greater impact. As a therapist, it will be important to be aware of the role that these sorts of stressors can play for Latino clients.References Alamilla, S. G., Kim, B. S. K., & Lam, N. A. (2010). Acculturation, enculturation, perceived racism, minority status stressors, and psychological symptomatology among Latino/as. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 32(1), 55-76. doi:10.1177/0739986309352770This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family evelopment (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.