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Cultural neurobiology and the family: Evidence from the daily lives of Latino adolescents

  • Leah D. Doane (a1), Michael R. Sladek (a1), Reagan S. Breitenstein (a1), Hyejung Park (a1), Saul A. Castro (a1) and Jennifer L. Kennedy (a1)...


Culturally linked family influences during adolescence are important predictors of health and well-being for Latino youth, yet few studies have examined whether these familial influences are associated with indicators of typical physiological stress processes. Following a cultural neurobiology framework, we examined the role of family in the everyday lives of Latino adolescents (N = 209; Mage = 18.10; 85.1% Mexican descent; 64.4% female) by investigating familism values and perceptions of parent support as well as daily family assistance behaviors in relation to hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis diurnal patterns, indexed by salivary cortisol five times a day for 3 weekdays. Three-level growth curve analyses revealed that perceptions of parental support were associated with greater cortisol awakening responses, whereas familism values were not associated with diurnal cortisol patterns. In day-to-day analyses, assisting family during the day (compared to not assisting family) was associated with lower waking cortisol levels and flatter diurnal slopes the next day. Our findings highlight the dynamic associations and multiple time courses between cultural values and behaviors, daily experiences, and physiological stress processes for Latino adolescents. Further, we identified important cultural risk and promotive factors associated with physiological regulation in daily life and potential pathways toward health outcomes in adulthood.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Leah D. Doane, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 871104, Tempe, AZ 85287-1104; E-mail:


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This research was supported by the William T. Grant Foundation under Award Number 184370. This research was also conducted with the support of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HD079520 (to L.D.D.). The authors would like to thank all of the participants and research assistants of the Transiciones project without whom this paper would not be possible. We also thank Andrea Gierens at Biochemisches Labor at the University of Trier for technical assistance with the salivary assays.



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Cultural neurobiology and the family: Evidence from the daily lives of Latino adolescents

  • Leah D. Doane (a1), Michael R. Sladek (a1), Reagan S. Breitenstein (a1), Hyejung Park (a1), Saul A. Castro (a1) and Jennifer L. Kennedy (a1)...


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