Date of Graduation

Summer 8-15-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)


School of Nursing and Health Professions




Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Michelle Montagno, PsyD

Second Advisor

Diane Peña, PhD

Third Advisor

Brac Selph, PsyD


There has been a significant gap in the literature regarding the lived experience of the Latinx adult transition to the United States and the clinical implications that arise in acclimating to the dominant culture, particularly under the Trump Administration. The approach for the current research examined Latinxs’ adulthood transitions to the United States, experiences of acculturative stress, including instances of discrimination as well as their experiences acclimating or assimilating into the dominant culture. This study also examined what seeking, or being unable to seek, mental health services looked like in the current sociopolitical climate. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was utilized to understand, in detail, how participants make sense of major transitions in their lives. Six major subthemes arose from the data: Reasons for Emigrating; Impact of Moving to the U.S. on Identity; Acculturative Stress and Its Effect on Mental Health; Experiences of Trauma Affecting Mental Health and Mental Health Seeking Behaviors in the U.S.; Effect of the Trump Administration; Resiliency and Empowerment. The findings further characterize the ways that Latinx individual’s subjectively experience immigrating to the United States in adulthood (at the age of 18 or older), and how Latinx adult immigrants respond to and make sense of acculturative stress with regards to mental health and mental health seeking behavior under the sociopolitical climate of the Trump administration. Findings indicate that Latinx adult immigrants often experience mental health problems and experience instances of trauma, which has a direct influence on mental health seeking behaviors. Specifically, findings indicated that participants were often unaware of their symptoms until being referred for mental health treatment.