Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Sedahlia J. Crase

Second Advisor

Kimberly Greder


This dissertation examined depression among rural Latino women using two studies--one using quantitative methodologies and another using mixed methods design. Data were from a multi-state longitudinal project that tracked the well-being and functioning of low income rural families in the context of welfare reform. For one study, latent growth curve modeling (LGC) was used to test for moderation of race/ethnicity on the relationship between food security status, social service use, and depressive symptoms. For the other study, chi-square and t-test analyses were used to test for differences between two groups of Latino women--those who maintained a consistently low level of depressive symptoms and those who maintained a consistently high level of depressive symptoms. Also, qualitative analyses were used to determine commonalities and differences among those same groups of Latino women. The data showed that factors that influenced depression were complex and multi-faceted. The latent growth curve modeling showed that ethnicity moderated the relationship between food insecurity status and depressive symptoms with higher initial levels of food insecurity associated with higher initial levels of depressive symptoms. Using qualitative inquiry in a mixed methods design shed light on the mothers who maintained low depressive symptoms throughout this longitudinal study and highlighted the significance that one's family of origin has throughout life, specifically how a caring and supportive relationship with one's parents and siblings appears to buffer an individual from life's difficult circumstances and thus safeguard one's mental health. A meaningful extension of this dissertation would be to focus on the influence of family of origin on levels of depression and food security later in life. Further work needs to consider differing patterns of association with food insecurity and maternal depression based on earlier familial relationships and child outcomes.


Copyright Owner

Dawn Elaine Browder



Date Available


File Format


File Size

107 pages