Prevalence of psychiatric disorders across Latino subgroups in the United States

Margarita Alegría, Norah Mulvaney-Day, Maria Torres, Antonio Polo, Zhun Cao, Glorisa Canino
American Journal of Public Health 2007, 97 (1): 68-75

OBJECTIVES: We examined the prevalence of depressive, anxiety, and substance use disorders among Latinos residing in the United States.

METHODS: We used data from the National Latino and Asian American Study, which included a nationally representative sample of Latinos. We 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: Our 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.

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