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Acculturation and Lifetime Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders Among Mexican Americans in Los Angeles

M. Audrey Burnam, Richard L. Hough, Marvin Karno, Javier I. Escobar and Cynthia A. Telles
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 28, No. 1 (Mar., 1987), pp. 89-102
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137143
Page Count: 14
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Acculturation and Lifetime Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders Among Mexican Americans in Los Angeles
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Abstract

Lifetime prevalence of eight major DSM-III psychiatric disorders was examined as a function of acculturation level and country of birth (Mexico or the U.S.) in a large household sample of Los Angeles adults of Mexican ethnicity. Higher acculturation was associated with higher lifetime rates of phobia, alcohol abuse or dependence, and drug abuse or dependence. There was no evidence of a curvilinear relationship of acculturation to disorder which would be predicted if bicultural Mexican Americans were at lower risk for disorder than monocultural Mexican Americans. Consistent with the acculturation findings, native-born Mexican Americans, who tended to have high levels of acculturation, had higher lifetime prevalence of disorders (phobia, alcohol abuse or dependence, drug abuse or dependence, as well as major depression and dysthymia) than immigrant Mexican Americans. After controlling for country of birth, only drug abuse or dependence among immigrants was affected by acculturation.

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