The Protective Effects of Sense of Community, Multigroup Ethnic Identity, and Self-Esteem Against Internalizing Problems Among Dominican Youthimplications for Social Workers

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This study examined the risk and protective factors associated with internalizing problems among Dominican adolescents (N = 500; 58% female) attending high school (grades 9-12) in a Northeastern, high poverty, urban community. Using a path analysis, this study found that depression and anxiety are complex mental health constructs and there are many factors that contribute to their developmental trajectory. Findings revealed that greater disorganization in one's neighborhood, perception of availability of drugs and handguns in one's community, and overall drug use and violent behaviors were linked with depression and anxiety. Conversely, higher levels of sense of community, which was linked to positive multigroup ethnic identity, and higher levels of self-esteem had a protective effect against depression and anxiety. Implications for social workers are discussed.



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