Bad Hombres: Perceived Discrimination, Acculturation and the Mental Health of Latinxs in a Growing Anti-Immigrant Climate. A Systematic Literature Review

  • Joaquin Calles Guzman Penn State Harrisburg
  • Senel Poyrazli Penn State Harrisburg


The presidential election of 2016 brought to the forefront anti-immigrant and nativist ideas which later took the form of policies, memorandums, and laws in the United States. Latinxs, especially Latinx migrants from Central and South America were one of the groups most targeted by these policies. Research has begun to show that the context of acculturation and in turn the level of perceived discrimination might play a key role in how individuals acculturate. This systematic literature review presents findings on the impact that perceived discrimination, especially during and around the last presidential election cycle, has had on the mental health of Latinxs. A synthesis of 10 research articles described evidence that a heightened anti-immigrant climate has negative and deleterious effects on the mental health of Latinxs, especially those with an undocumented legal status. Latinxs of different backgrounds described an increased sense of uncertainty, fear, and higher incidence of depressive symptoms. Individuals who lived in states with stricter anti-immigrant policies reported poorer mental health outcomes when compared with those in states with less strict policies. These findings suggest that the current context of anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. might have more negative effects on the mental health of Latinxs than previously thought. The findings outlined in this review highlight the importance of continuing to explore the impact of discrimination on the lives of Latinxs and other minority populations, especially during the current sociopolitical climate.