Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Personality and Acculturation as Predictors of Self-harm Behaviors in Latinx Young Adults

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There is a paucity of research identifying predictors of self-harm behaviors in Latinx youth. With the current complex and dynamic sociopolitical landscape in the USA, acculturation processes and cultural stressors may be related to previously identified risk factors (e.g., neuroticism) to exacerbate self-harm behaviors in this understudied group. This study aimed to identify if acculturation predicted self-harm behaviors and if personality types mediated the relationship between the two. A current sample consisted of N = 1020 college students who attend a university on the US/Mexico border who originate from the USA, Mexico, and several other international countries; the sample was predominately Latinx (84%) and female (75%) and had a mean age of 23.52 years (SD = 6.2). A hierarchical regression identified neuroticism and openness as significant predictors of self-harm behaviors after controlling for demographic and cultural factors. For the mediation models, the relationship between heritage acculturation and self-harm was partially mediated by openness to experience while neuroticism was not a significant mediator. Mental health practitioners can benefit by incorporating heritage acculturation status in diagnostic, screening, and intervention programming when working with Latinx young adults at risk or with a history of suicidality. Specifically, in that individuals with lower heritage acculturation orientation may be at an increased risk of self-harm.


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International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction