Ataque De Nervios as a Marker of Social and Psychiatric Vulnerability: Results From the NLAAS

Institute for Health, Health Care Policy & Aging Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
International Journal of Social Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.15). 08/2009; 56(3):298-309. DOI: 10.1177/0020764008101636
Source: PubMed


This article presents the fi rst epidemiological portrait of ataques de nervios among Latinos in the mainland United States. Much of the previous literature has focused on Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico and New York City.
This study examines the social and psychiatric correlates of ataque de nervios in a nationally representative sample of Latinos in the United States.
This study employs data from the Latino sample (N = 2554) of the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS). Analyses examined the associations between ataques de nervios and a range of social and migration variables, as well as psychiatric diagnoses and measures of mental health need.
Ataques de nervios were reported by 7-15% of the different Latino groups, with Puerto Ricans reporting the highest frequency. Ataques de nervios were more frequent in women, those with disrupted marital status, and those more acculturated to the US. The frequency of those who met criteria for affective, anxiety and substance abuse disorders was higher among those reporting an ataque de nervios.
Ataque de nervios can serve as an important indicator of social and psychiatric vulnerability in future epidemiological and clinical studies with Latino populations.

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Available from: Jing Guo, Jul 21, 2014
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    • "Ataques are commonly comorbid with a range of psychiatric disorders, particularly anxiety and depressive disorders (Guarnaccia et al. 1993), but also substance use disorders (Guarnaccia et al., 2010) and somatic complaints (Lopez, Ramirez, Guarnaccia, Canino, & Bird, 2011). However, Guarnaccia and colleagues (1993) note in their research that ataques were associated with a variety of disorders, not exclusively one, and " could not be treated as simply a culturally shaped version of a specific psychiatric disorder " (p. "
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    • "Importantly, transcultural psychiatry, cross-cultural psychiatry, cultural psychiatry, and cultural psychopathology differ in their scope, methods, and aims. Yet, most of these disciplines share an interest in (a) the question of universality versus specificity of abnormal behavior, syndromes, and symptoms across nations and ethnic groups; (b) the application of anthropological and ethnographic approaches to problems in psychiatry and clinical psychology; (c) the validity of Western standards in measurement, classification, and treatment of mental illness (Kleinman, 2012); (d) the study of culturally and ethnically bound syndromes (e.g., ataque de nervios; Guarnaccia et al., 2010); (e) indicators of maladaptation without a systematic regard for markers of adaptation; and (f) the relative absence of developmental approaches to research questions and measurement. This latter characteristic is somewhat shared by a significant number of studies in developmental psychopathology that focus on culture, because these studies rarely examine individual cultural development (for exceptions , see Chen, Cen, Li, & He, 2005;Ga rcía Coll et al., 2000). "
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