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Harvard Researchers at Cambridge Health Alliance Identify Key Factors in Psychiatric Disorders Across Latino Subgroups
Posted Date: 1/11/2007

Objectives: The authors examined the prevalence of depressive, anxiety, and substance use disorders among Latinos residing in the United States.

Methods: The authors used data from the National Latino and Asian American Study (www.multiculturalmentalhealth.org/nlaas.asp), a national epidemiological household survey of Latinos. They calculated weighted prevalence rates of lifetime and past-year psychiatric disorders across different sociodemographic, ethnic, and immigration groups.

Results: Lifetime psychiatric disorder prevalence estimates were 28.1% for men and 30.2% for women. Puerto Ricans had the highest overall prevalence rate among the Latino ethnic groups assessed. Increased rates of psychiatric disorders were observed among US-born, English-language-proficient, and third-generation Latinos.

Conclusions: The results provide important information about potential correlates of psychiatric problems among Latinos that can inform clinical practice and guide program development. Stressors associated with cultural transmutation may exert particular pressure on Latino men. Continued attention to environmental influences, especially among third-generation Latinos, is an important area for substance abuse program development.

Authors: Margarita Alegra, PhD, Director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research at Cambridge Health Alliance and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Norah Mulvaney-Day, PhD, Associate Director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research at Cambridge Health Alliance and Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Maria Torres, MA, Project Manager for the National Latino and Asian American Study; Antonio Polo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology at DePaul University; Zhun Cao, PhD, Associate Director for Methodological Affairs at the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research at Cambridge Health Alliance and Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; and Glorisa Canino, PhD, Director of the Behavioral Sciences Research Institute at the University of Puerto Rico.

Journal: American Journal of Public Health (2007) Vol 97 No. 1: 68-75

Website: www.ajph.org.

Funding: The project was supported by a National Institute of Health Research Grant funded by the National Institute of Mental Health as well as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. This publication was also made possible by a grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

The Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, led by Dr. Margarita Alegra, is based at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and collaborates with outside institutions such as Harvard Medical School and the Recinto de Ciencias Médicas at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). The mission is to generate innovative mental health services research that impacts policy, practice, and service delivery for multicultural populations. The Center is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of psychologists, social policy analysts, health economists, psychiatrists, data analysts, sociologists, and other professionals that assist in the research and analysis of Center projects. There are currently three large projects operating at the Center: the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS); the joint CHA/UPR project Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities and Training (EXPORT); and the Advanced Center for Mental Health Disparities. Website:www.multiculturalmentalhealth.org.

Cambridge Health Alliance is a regional healthcare system with three hospitals and more than twenty primary care practices in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston's metro-North communities. As a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, Cambridge Health Alliance offers medical residency/training programs and undergraduate learning experiences in hospital and community settings. Cambridge Health Alliance also includes the Cambridge Public Health Department, CHA Physicians Organization (CHAPO), and Network Health, a managed Medicaid plan.

 


Cambridge Health Alliance is a vital and innovative community health system that provides essential services to Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices, and the Cambridge Public Health Department. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine.