Honoring Roots in Multiple Worlds: Professionals’ Perspectives on Healthy Development of Latino Youth

Carolyn M Porta, Michele L Allen, G. Ali Hurtado, Maria Padilla, Maria Arboleda, Maria Veronica Svetaz, Rosita Balch, Renee E Sieving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose. To obtain contextualized insights from professionals regarding factors that contribute to or inhibit the healthy development of Latino youth. Method. A community-engaged study in which semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with 30 professionals who work extensively with Latino youth in urban clinics, schools, and other community-based settings. Results. Every key informant expressed opinions regarding factors that contribute to healthy development of Latino youth, ranging from cultural identity and a sense of belonging to family connectedness and adult role models. Contributing and inhibiting factors were characterized by being either intrinsic to the individual (e.g., sense of belonging, hope) or extrinsic (e.g., family support and love, community support). Conclusion. Recognition of and appreciation for the importance of cultural influences in the lives of Latino youth is a critical starting point on which professionals must build to respectfully and successfully encourage healthy youth development. Factors that contribute to the healthy development of Latino youth range from cultural identity and cultural pride to family connectedness, adult role models, and a sense of belonging. In working with Latino young people, professionals must recognize and appreciate cultural influences as foundational to this population’s health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-198
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Cooperative Agreement #U48 DP000063, PRC Director: M. D. Resnick). The authors would like to thank the Encuentro project’s youth, parents, and community partners for their contributions to this study’s interview guide and their involvement throughout the project. The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the funder.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © 2015 Society for Public Health Education.


  • Latino
  • adolescent
  • culture
  • healthy development
  • qualitative


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