Community Determinants of Latinos' Use of Mental Health Services

Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 2.41). 04/2008; 59(4):408-13. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


This study examined the role of community in understanding Latino adults' (18-64 years of age) use of community mental health services.
Service utilization data from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health were analyzed from 2003 in two service provider areas. Demographic data, including foreign-born status, language, education, and income for the Latino population, were obtained from the 2000 U.S. Census. The study sample consisted of 4,133 consumers of mental health services in 413 census tracts from an established immigrant community and 4,156 consumers of mental health services in 204 census tracts from a recent immigrant community. Negative binomial regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between locales, community characteristics, and use of services.
Community of residence and foreign-born status were significantly associated with Latinos' service use. Latinos from the established immigrant community were more likely to use services than Latinos from the recent immigrant community. Across both communities, census tracts with a higher percentage of foreign-born noncitizen residents showed lower service use. Within the established immigrant community, as income levels increased there was little change in utilization. In contrast, in the recent immigrant community, as income levels increased utilization rates increased as well (beta=.001, p<.001).
The findings point out the importance of locale and community determinants in understanding Latinos' use of public mental health services.

Download full-text


Available from: Adrian Aguilera, Sep 02, 2014
10 Reads
  • Source
    • "While there is a growing body of literature on Latino's perception of mental health [19–22], few studies have compared views of depression among the various ethnic groups that fall under the Hispanic umbrella, and even fewer have examined the role of immigration. While Latino immigrants appear to experience lower rates of depression than their U. S.-born compatriots and White Americans, they are also less likely to seek mental health services when they are depressed [6, 9, 20, 23–25]. Lackey (2008) suggests that if models used by immigrants to self-assess their mental health are different from the models used by clinicians, there will be a greater disparity between those who might need mental health care and those who are perceived to need it. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Surgeon General's report, "Culture, Race, and Ethnicity: A Supplement to Mental Health," points to the need for subgroup specific mental health research that explores the cultural variation and heterogeneity of the Latino population. Guided by cognitive anthropological theories of culture, we utilized ethnographic interviewing techniques to explore cultural models of depression among foreign-born Mexican (n = 30), Cuban (n = 30), Columbian (n = 30), and island-born Puerto Ricans (n = 30), who represent the largest Latino groups in Florida. Results indicate that Colombian, Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Rican immigrants showed strong intragroup consensus in their models of depression causality, symptoms, and treatment. We found more agreement than disagreement among all four groups regarding core descriptions of depression, which was largely unexpected but can potentially be explained by their common immigrant experiences. Findings expand our understanding about Latino subgroup similarities and differences in their conceptualization of depression and can be used to inform the adaptation of culturally relevant interventions in order to better serve Latino immigrant communities.
    Depression research and treatment 09/2011; 2011:564396. DOI:10.1155/2011/564396
  • Source
    12/1998: pages 167-182;
  • Source
Show more