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

Pauline Garcia-Reid, Christina Hamme Peterson, Robert Reid, N. Andrew Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-222
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Work in Mental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2013



  • Latino youth
  • alcohol use
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • drug use
  • multiethnic identity
  • self-esteem
  • sense of community
  • social disorganization
  • youth violence

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