Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2000


Published in Great Plains Research 10 (Fall 2000). Copyright © 2000 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The mental health problems Latino youth face in the United States are often misunderstood and viewed as a lack of willingness to assimilate or contribute to society. Some mental health practitioners and administrators have a hard time understanding that Latino youth, more often than not, don't "fit" the diagnosis and psychological interventions they use working with youth from dominant racial and ethnic groups. Providing, as it does, a comprehensive approach to understanding the problems Latinos and Latinas encounter growing up in US society, Working with Latino Youth can help rectify this lack of understanding.

Koss-Chioino and Vargas successfully achieve a contextual and cultural vision in assessing Latino youth problems, a vision emphasizing the analysis of both the social contexts in which persons interact and the relation of those persons to the context of their history and culture. The experiences of Latino youth are analyzed within four major contexts: the microsystem (face to face settings), the mesosystem (two or more linked settings that include the individual), the exosystem (two or more linked settings, with only one including the individual), and the macrosystem (which overarches the other systems). Each context, examined in detail with theoretical, historical, and empirical insight, is followed by particular accounts of cases of interventions with Latino youth.