Article

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: 1.99). 04/2008; 59(4):408-13. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.59.4.408
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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