Relative Influences of Ethnic Identity and Personality on Hispanic Psychological Distress Following Perceived Police Discrimination

Hector F De Los Santos, Purdue University


Hispanics’ interactions with police may be among their most salient experiences of perceived discrimination and culturally-specific stress. Personality and ethnic identity likely shape perceptions of these incidents and reactions in response, but have different predictions for patterns/implications for intervention. Using the Pathways to Desistance Mexican-American sample (N=454), this study directly compared the relative influences of individual differences in basic personality and ethnic identity in predicting present and future psychological distress. Results indicate that Five Factor Model (FFM) personality traits Neuroticism, Openness, and Agreeableness are associated with present psychological stress, and that FFM personality may have a suppression effect on the contribution of ethnic identity to present psychological distress. Additional findings indicate that perceived police discrimination contributes to future psychological distress but not present psychological distress, and Neuroticism and Conscientiousness predicted future psychological distress. These findings extend and bridge the understanding of minority, cultural, and personality characteristics unique and combined influence on risks for psychological distress among Hispanics.




Rollock, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|Hispanic American studies

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