Latino Childhood Development Research: Strategy—Support Moms


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This is part of the Salud America! The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review »

The Importance of Latina Mothers

Although Latino children are generally well adjusted socially and emotionally, several factors may negatively influence their overall health and wellbeing development. These include poverty and/or large households, immigration status, the country of origin, maternal depression,1,146,147 as well as other factors like breastfeeding initiation and duration.148

Read the Salud America! research review about breastfeeding among Latina mothers.148,149

Approaches are emerging on how to address these issues. For example, mental health interventions can be made available to Latina mothers who are displaying negative thought patterns, including anxiety, depression, and self-doubt.150

Providing outlets for mothers to talk with peers and trained counselors and/or nurses may help to reduce stress and improve intrapersonal awareness toward mental health and its effects on family and childrearing. In particular, home-based interventions have been successful in this population.129,130128,129

The Latino family typically includes extended relatives, and sometimes friends, which may lead to several people living in one household. Latina mothers may shoulder many responsibilities because of the family structure. Involving family members, especially partners, in helping with household responsibilities, including children’s activities, may reduce the load that mothers carry in this culture.127

Read the Salud America! research review about mental health and Latino children.33

Similarly, parent education classes could be offered to Latino parents to reinforce styles that are responsive, positive, and warm. Innovative approaches may include meeting with families in the home environment and learning about the challenges that exist from living with extended families, often in small areas, 151,152.

Addressing specific parenting skills, such as skill encouragement, monitoring discipline, and positive involvement), may be beneficial to immigrant parents.131

Read the Salud America! research review about building support for Latino families.98

More from our The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review »

References for this section »

1. Guerrero, A. D. et al. Early Growth of Mexican–American Children: Lagging in Preliteracy Skills but not Social Development. Matern. Child Health J. 17, 1701–1711 (2013).

33. Ramirez, A. Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review. Salud America! (2017). Available at: (Accessed: 29th September 2017)

98. Ramirez, A. Building Support for Latino Families: A Research Review. Salud America! (2017). Available at: (Accessed: 25th October 2017)

127. Johnson, D. C., Lynch, S. & Stephens, C. Educational language policy and the new Latino diaspora in Iowa. (2016).

128. Puente, S. & Hernandez, R. Transforming Early Learning: Educational Equity for Young Latinos. (2009).

129. Currie, J. Economic Impact of Head Start. (2005). Available at: (Accessed: 17th August 2017)

130. Deming, D. Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start. Am. Econ. J. Appl. Econ. 1, 111–134 (2009).

131. Ludwig, J. & Phillips, D. A. The Benefits and Costs of Head Start. (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2007). doi:10.3386/w12973

146. Jung, S., Fuller, B. & Galindo, C. Family Functioning and Early Learning Practices in Immigrant Homes. Child Dev. 83, 1510–1526 (2012).

147. Smith, E. N., Grau, J. M., Duran, P. A. & Castellanos, P. Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Child Behavior Problems among Latina Adolescent Mothers: The Buffering Effect of Mother-reported Partner Child Care Involvement. Merrill-Palmer Q. Wayne State Univ. Press 59, (2013).

148. Weddle, L. ., Ramirez, A. G. & Gallion, K. G. Helping Latino Children Reach a Healthy Weight by Kindergarten. (Salud America!, 2015).

149. Ramirez, A. Latina Mom and Baby Health: A Research Review. Salud America! (2016). Available at: (Accessed: 25th October 2017)

150. Beeber, L. S., Perreira, K. M. & Schwartz, T. Supporting the Mental Health of Mothers Raising Children in Poverty. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1136, 86–100 (2008).

151. Garcia, C., McNaughton, D., Radosevich, D. M., Brandt, J. & Monsen, K. Family Home Visiting Outcomes for Latina Mothers With and Without Mental Health Problems. Public Health Nurs. 30, 429–438 (2013).

152. Holtrop, K., McNeil Smith, S. & Scott, J. C. Associations between Positive Parenting Practices and Child Externalizing Behavior in Underserved Latino Immigrant Families. Fam. Process 54, 359–375 (2015).

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Expected rise in Latino cancer cases in coming years

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