Latina and Latino Children's Mental Health
by Natasha J. Cabrera, Francisco A. Villarruel, and Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Editors
February 2011, 512pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38296-3
$121, £94, 106€, A166
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38297-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

There are some 15 million Latino/a children under age 18 living in the United States, with one in every four living in poverty. What factors affect these kids—for better and worse? What can parents, teachers, politicians, and mental health practitioners do to help them grow up strong, confident, and successful?

A team of expert academics and practitioners examines the life circumstances that impact Latino/a youth growing up in two cultures—their native culture and that of the United States.

What effect does growing up in an ethnic minority and perhaps in an immigrant family have on development? That is the overarching question Latina and Latino Children’s Mental Health sets out to answer. The work examines all of the myriad physical, psychological, social, and environmental factors that undermine or support healthy development in Latino American children, from biology to economics to public policy.

The first volume of this two-volume set focuses on early-life experiences and the second on youth/adolescent issues, treating such topics as children’s development of a sense of self, development of linguistic skills, peer relationships, sexual orientation, and physical development. The work analyzes familial relationships, often an important resource that helps young people build resilience despite the stresses of migration. And it looks at patterns of behavior, social status, and social-goal orientations that differentiate Latino/a children and adolescents from their African American and European American peers.


  • Chapters from leading researchers across the United States who study Latino children and youth
  • A glossary
  • A bibliography
Natasha J. Cabrera, PhD, is associate professor in the Human Development Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Her research focuses on the correlations of adaptive and maladaptive parenting and its links to children's cognitive and social development. She has researched the nature and frequency of father involvement as well as the mechanism by which children's social environment, including parenting, influences their development. Her work has also focused on cultural aspects of parenting, with a particular focus on Latino families. Cabrera is the coauthor of the Handbook of Father Involvement: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. She won an award for the Best Research Article regarding men in families in 2008.

Francisco A. Villarruel, PhD, is university outreach and engagement senior fellow and professor of human development and family studies at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Villarruel is recognized nationally for his research and policy work focusing on Latino/a youth and juvenile justice systems reform, as well as on youth development.

Hiram E. Fitzgerald, PhD, is associate provost for university outreach and engagement and university distinguished professor of psychology at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, as well as adjunct professor of psychiatry, at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. His many published works include Praeger's The Crisis in Youth Mental Health: Critical Issues and Effective Programs and Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence.


"This informative resource will be useful for students and mental health professionals interested in improving their understanding of the complex factors that affect the mental health of Latino children and youth. Summing Up: Highly recommended."—Choice, September 1, 2011
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