Cumulative Lifetime Adversity in a National Sample of Hispanic/Latino Immigrants: Exploring Construct Validity Across Six Hispanic/Latino Groups Using Data From the HCHS/SOL Sociocultural Ancillary Study

Daniel K. Cooper & Kyle Nickodem
Evaluation & the Health Professions, 2020-03-13


Hispanic/Latino immigrants often experience significant adversity before, during, and after migrating to the United States. However, no extant studies have tested the construct validity of a cumulative measure of lifetime adversity with Hispanic/Latino immigrants. Our objective was to assess the construct validity of a comprehensive measurement model of lifetime adversity (i.e., adverse childhood experiences, adult chronic stress, adult perceived stress, adult acculturation stress, and lifetime ethnic discrimination) with a national sample of Hispanic/Latinos born outside the mainland United States. Guided by the life course perspective, we examined the (a) dimensionality of cumulative lifetime adversity; (b) extent to which the functioning of this measurement model differed across various Hispanic/Latino subgroups including Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Central Americans, and South Americans; and (c) association between cumulative lifetime adversity and other constructs (e.g., anxiety and depression). We used existing data from the Hispanic Community Health Survey/Study of Latinos—Sociocultural Ancillary Study, a national survey of Hispanic/Latinos living in the United States ( N = 3,296). Results from confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a five-factor bifactor measurement model for cumulative lifetime adversity fit the data adequately (e.g., comparative fit index = .91, root mean square error of approximation = .04, standardized root mean square residual = .07). Results from multigroup confirmatory factor analyses suggested that the measurement model functioned similarly across Hispanic/Latino subgroups, providing evidence for measurement invariance. The model also displayed convergent and discriminant validity based on associations with other constructs. We discuss implications for advancing the precision of assessment instruments for lifetime adversity with populations with high within-group diversity.
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