Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Psychological and Brain Sciences

Degree Program

Clinical Psychology, PhD

Committee Chair

Woodruff-Borden, Janet

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Walter, Bernadette

Committee Member

Lewine, Richard

Committee Member

Salmon, Paul

Committee Member

Hooper, Lisa

Author's Keywords

Anxiety; Latino; Hispanic; fatalism; adolescents


Evidence that Latino/as in the United States experience lower rates of anxiety disorders as compared to the non-Latino/a White population has not yet led to the identification of the sources of these differences. Higher rates of anxiety disorders among more acculturated Latino/a individuals compared to those lower in acculturation suggest there are influential cultural variables relevant to anxiety, specifically that there is a loss of a protective Latino/a cultural factor in the acculturation process. Fatalism, an often-cited Latino/a cultural characteristic, emerges as an intriguing candidate for exploration in relation to anxiety due to the shared elements of future orientation and control. Specifically, anxiety correlates of intolerance of uncertainty and primary and secondary control were studied. The current study reviews literature on cultural factors relevant to the Latino/a experience and their role in the developmental period of adolescence, anxiety in the Latino/a population, and the construct of fatalism and its role in Latina/o health and mental health. Next, the relations between acculturation, fatalism, and correlates of anxiety are tested. Specifically, it was hypothesized acculturation predicts fatalism, fatalism negatively predicts anxiety, worry, IU, and primary control, and positively predicts secondary control. Furthermore, it was hypothesized secondary control would moderate the relation between fatalism and anxiety and worry that higher fatalism will predict lower levels of anxiety and worry when a high level of secondary control is present. 47 Latino/a participants ages 12-17 were recruited for the study. The adolescents and their parent/guardian completed self-report questionnaires. The study hypotheses were partially supported. Initial analyses indicated acculturation did not predict fatalism; however, exploratory analyses using a four-part model of acculturation revealed a significant interaction such that different combinations of high and low Hispanicism and Americanism related differently to fatalism. Fatalism was not a significant predictor of anxiety but was found to be a positive predictor of worry. Fatalism positively predicted IU for a subset of older adolescents. Finally, fatalism was not significantly predictive of primary or secondary control; however, secondary was a significant moderator in the relation between fatalism and anxiety. Implications of the findings for the future study of Latino/a anxiety are discussed.