Few studies have assessed the effects of fear of deportation (FOD) using quantitative methods, and fewer still have examined modifiable factors that buffer against the chronic stress produced by living under the constant threat of being deported. One such mechanism is hope. Snyder’s theory of hope consists of two fundamental cognitive processes called pathways and agency (Snyder, 2002). Pathway thought processes are characterized as the mental strategies or “roadmaps” used for obtaining goals, while agency thought processes are characterized as the sustaining mental energy that helps with goal attainment (Hellman, 2016). Individuals with increased levels of hope are more likely to use available resources to cope with potential risks and create strategies that manage risk and maximize opportunities. Hope turns threatening situations with an uncertain outcome into a more manageable and thus, less stressful experiences (Park, 2004).
The goals of this symposium session are to: (1) evaluate the impact of FOD on anxiety, emotional and behavioral dyscontrol (EBD), and substance use (SU) among Latino immigrant youth; (2) analyze whether stress mediates the path from FOD to anxiety, EBD, and SU, and (3) investigate whether hope moderates the path from FOD to stress and/or the path from stress to any of the three above-mentioned outcomes. The three papers share a common theoretical background (Snyder’s hope theory), a population of interest (1st and 2nd generation Latino immigrant youth), an analytical approach (path models), and purpose (to test whether hope moderates the impact of stress resulting from living under the threat of deportation).
This symposium supports the "hot topic issues" of the conference inasmuch as current immigration policies are imposing severe consequences on Latino immigrant youth and their families. The results of this symposium provide evidence for hope as a promising strategy that can be incorporated into prevention and treatment efforts designed to reduce the pervasive and long-lasting effects of U.S. immigration policy on a growing segment of the population
Because all three papers are drawn from the same sample and use the same methodology, a brief overview of methods will be provided at the beginning allowing the presentations to focus on results and implications. The symposium concludes with the discussant moderating audience discussion on the implications of the three studies for prevention and treatment approaches.