Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor's Name

Patria Rojas

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mariana Sanchez

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Mario De La Rosa

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Miguel A. Cano

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Latino/a Immigrants, Gender, Traditional Gender Roles, Alcohol Use, Depressive Symptoms, Stress, Forced Migration, Trauma, Syndemics

Date of Defense



Over the past decade, there has been a shift in Latino/a immigration patterns to the U.S. including steep increases in South and Central America immigrants. Seeking asylum from political and economic turmoil, many of these immigrants are disproportionately impacted by the compounding conditions of stress, trauma, depressive symptoms, and alcohol use severity (AUS). Most investigations on these conditions have been conducted among Mexican immigrants residing in the U.S. for an extended time period. Far less is known about the cumulative and intersecting effects of these conditions among a diverse group of recent Latino/a immigrants (RLIs) or how cultural factors such as Latino/a traditional gender roles (TGR) may influence these conditions.

The present study examined (1) the cumulative effects of premigration stress/trauma and postimmigration stress on the depressive symptoms of young adult RLIs and the moderating effect of gender on these associations, (2) the cumulative effects of pre/postimmigration stress on AUS and the respective moderating effects of adherence to TGR and forced migration among RLI men and women, (3) if pre/post immigration stress, forced migration, depressive symptoms, and AUS demonstrated to be a syndemic factor, and (4) the association between adherence to TGR and this syndemic factor. A cross sectional secondary data analysis was conducted using data from a NIAAA funded longitudinal study of N= 540 (N= 271 men, N= 269 women) of RLIs aged 18-34 years old in South Florida (SFL). Hierarchical multiple regression (HMR), moderation analyses, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and structural equation modeling (SEM) were employed.

Higher levels of postimmigration stress were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms and AUS. Gender moderated the association between postimmigration stress and AUS, whereby the association was stronger among men compared to women. Adherence to TGR significantly weakened the association between premigration stress and AUS among men but not for women. A syndemic factor explained the covariance between pre/postimmigration stress, depressive symptoms, and AUS. Adherence to TGR had a significant positive effect on this syndemic factor. These findings support the development of culturally tailored interventions early in the immigration process that address adherence to TGR to mitigate this syndemic among RLIs.



Previously Published In

Vazquez, V., Rojas, P., Cano M. A., De La Rosa, M., Romano, E., & Sanchez, M. (2021). Depressive symptoms among recent Latino immigrants in South Florida: The role of premigration trauma and stress, postimmigration stress, and gender. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 1-13.

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