Fitting In: The Roles of Social Acceptance and Discrimination in Shaping the Daily Psychological Well-Being of Latino Youth*


  • She will provide access to the unrestricted data and coding for replication purposes. We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF 88-06-07; 87-03-01, 87-05-02), the Russell Sage Visiting Scholar program, the William T. Grant Foundation (WTG #9203), and the Population Research Training grant (5 T32 HD007168), awarded to the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in support of this research. We also thank Sandi Chapman and Paula Gildner for their excellent project management. In addition, we would like to thank Christina Holub, Tia Palermo, and Pan Riggs for their assistance with data collection and data entry.

Direct correspondence to Krista M. Perreira, Carolina Population Center, CB#8120, 123 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 〈〉.



We examine how acculturation experiences such as discrimination and social acceptance influence the daily psychological well-being of Latino youth living in newly emerging and historical receiving immigrant communities.


We use data on 557 Latino youth enrolled in high school in Los Angeles or in rural or urban North Carolina.


Compared to Latino youth in Los Angeles, Latino youth in urban and rural North Carolina experienced higher levels of daily happiness, but also experienced higher levels of daily depressive and anxiety symptoms. Differences in nativity status partially explained location differences in youths’ daily psychological well-being. Discrimination and daily negative ethnic treatment worsened, whereas social acceptance combined with daily positive ethnic treatment and ethnic and family identification improved, daily psychological well-being.


Our analysis contributes to understanding the acculturation experiences of immigrant youth and the roles of social context in shaping adolescent mental health.