Examining Psychological Distress in Mexican American College Men: The Role of Machismo, Caballerismo, and Family

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Heredia Jr., Dagoberto
machismo; caballerismo; family; distress; Mexican American college men
thesis / dissertation description
Latino college men remain underrepresented in higher education and often experience significant mental health concerns in the university context. A comprehensive understanding of Latino college men’s psychological functioning is critical to help increase enrollment and persistence rates given that mental health problems can interfere with academic persistence. Whereas there exists growing literature on Latina/o undergraduates, few studies have focused on the impact of gender role beliefs on psychological distress in Latino college men. Further, no studies have examined how families influence the relationship between gender role beliefs and psychological distress among Latino college men. A better understanding of these factors is an important step toward addressing the unique challenges Latino men face on college campuses. As such, the present study examined two domains of Latino male gender role beliefs (i.e., machismo and caballerismo), as well as the mediating role of family conflict and family intragroup marginalization, to test a culturally relevant model of psychological distress among 146 Mexican American college men. Path analysis results indicated that traditional machismo was positively associated with family conflict whereas caballerismo was negatively associated with family intragroup marginalization. Further, family intragroup marginalization was positively associated with psychological distress. Lastly, family conflict and family intragroup marginalization did not significantly mediate the relationship between Latino male gender role beliefs and psychological distress. Implications for counselors, educators, and university administration are discussed.