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The demand for informal caregiving is projected to increase. According to the U.S. Census 2015, by 2030, one in five Americans are expected to be over the age of 65. Additionally, with the current advances in technology within the health care system, more individuals, including adults and children with chronic health conditions are surviving and in need of caregiving for their activities of daily living (ADLs) (Schulz & Tompkins, 2010). The increase in population has contributed to higher familial burdens as many family members, especially Mexican-American families, are expected to take on the role of caregiving. Additionally, small family sizes are also contributing to college students having to take on the part of caregiving. Caregivers have demanding responsibilities that put them at risk of developing physical, emotional and financial distress (Hunter, 1994; Lai, 2012). The already high prevalence of mental health problems in college students provides evidence for this being an at-risk population (Stallman, 2010). However, there is lack of research available to understand the mental and physical health factors in college students identified as caregivers, and caregiving being more common amongst Mexican-American college students.
Latinos constitute a vast majority of all minority population in the United States with Mexican American representing 10% of the total U.S. population (U.S. Census, 2012). Like other Latino cultures, Mexican-Americans emphasize close family relationships and familial interdependence through the values of Familismo even with the persistent increase in acculturation and socioeconomic status. Familismo refers to the feeling of loyalty, reciprocity, and solidarity towards each member of the household as Mexican-American believe family is an extension of self (Sabogal et al., 1987). Informal family care for elders is conventional in Mexican American communities despite intergenerational gaps in filial values. Traditionally, Hispanic households strenuously avoid nursing homes placement, keeping their ill loved one at home longer than Anglo families (Espino, Neufeld, Mulvihill & Libow, 1988; Meyer, 2001) honoring their long-term commitment to care, and providing end of the life care without institutionalization (Funk et al., 2010). Although Latino family caregivers are likely to be highly engaged and display warmth towards their loved ones, the caregivers are also experiencing substantial stress and burden related to caregiving. Thus, research is needed to focus on the adverse mental and physical health of the Mexican American population
Stress increases cortisol levels which may have adverse effects such as heart disease, cancer, depression, and quicker aging in caregivers. College students identified as caregivers are more inclined to develop higher levels of stress compared to their non-caregiving peers. As a result, college students are twice as likely to experience high levels of stress and are at risk of developing mental and physical stress associated with managing school and caregiving, especially amongst the Mexican-American community.
Unfortunately, with minimal research done on this unique population, it is difficult to gain a deeper understanding of college students that identify as caregivers particularly in the Mexican-American student population. The present study explores the fundamental idea that college students classified as caregivers are at higher risk of developing physical and mental distress, and more specifically that Mexican American college students are more likely to take on the role of caregiving than their Caucasian counterparts.

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