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Spanish Language Use across Generations and Depressive Symptoms among US Latinos


Ward, Julia B.; Vines, Anissa I.; Haan, Mary N.; Fernandez-Rhodes, Lindsay; Miller, Erline E.; & Aiello, Allison E. (2019). Spanish Language Use across Generations and Depressive Symptoms among US Latinos. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 50(1), 61-71. PMCID: PMC6309758


Acculturation markers, such as language use, have been associated with Latino depression. Language use may change between generations; however, few studies have collected intergenerational data to assess how language differences between generations impact depression. Using the Ninos Lifestyle and Diabetes Study (2013-2014), we assessed how changes in Spanish language use across two generations of Mexican-origin participants in Sacramento, California, influenced offspring depressive symptoms (N = 603). High depressive symptoms were defined as CESD-10 scores >/= 10. We used log-binomial and linear-binomial models to calculate prevalence ratios and differences, respectively, for depressive symptoms by language use, adjusting for identified confounders and within-family clustering. Decreased Spanish use and stable-equal English/Spanish use across generations protected against depressive symptoms, compared to stable-high Spanish use. Stable-low Spanish use was not associated with fewer depressive symptoms compared to stable-high Spanish use. Exposure to multiple languages cross-generationally may improve resource access and social networks that protect against depression.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Child Psychiatry and Human Development


Ward, Julia B.
Vines, Anissa I.
Haan, Mary N.
Fernandez-Rhodes, Lindsay
Miller, Erline E.
Aiello, Allison E.