HPP 172 March: Honoring Roots in Multiple Worlds: Professionals Perspectives on Healthy Development of Latino Youth

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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.

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