Award Date


Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor 1

Andrew J. Freeman

Advisor 2

Lisa Menegatos

Advisor 3

Rachael Robnett

Number of Pages



There is limited research on Hispanics in regards to experiencing depressive symptoms and the risk factors that accompany it. Understanding how these symptoms manifest in different ethnic groups can lead to the development of appropriate interventions to lower diagnoses. The purpose of this study was to examine ethnic differences in depressive symptoms, ethnic differences in risky behaviors, and to see if the association between depressive symptoms and risky behaviors differs by ethnicity. There were 401 young participants, ages 18 to 25; however, because of the goals of the study we only analyzed the data of 312 participants. Of the participants who reported their gender and ethnicity, 33% were male, 37% were Hispanic and 63% were non-Hispanic White. The General Behavior Inventory (GBI) measured depression. The Alcohol Use and Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory (DSHI), and the YRBSS measured risky behaviors. There was no significant difference in depressive symptoms between Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites; however, females experienced more depressive symptoms than males in both ethnic groups. Ethnic differences were observed for risky behaviors. Hispanics were more likely to be suicidal, but less likely to misuse alcohol than non-Hispanic Whites. Ethnicity was not associated with NSSI or risky sexual behavior. Depressive symptoms were associated with alcohol misuse, suicidality, and NSSI, but not with risky sexual behaviors. Our findings suggest that that the relationship between depressive symptoms and risky behaviors is moderated by ethnicity.


depression; ethnic differences; risky behavior; youth





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Psychology Commons