A long way from home: Comparing mental health measures between foreign and U.S.-born Latinos in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA)

Alejandra Casillas*, Mei Leng, Kiang Liu, Alexandra Hernandez, Sandi Shrager, Alka Kanaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Studies exploring the relationship between foreign-born status and mental health among Latinos in the United States have varied in their conclusions. We examined 2000-2002 MESA data on Latinos and compared responses between immigrants and non-immigrants on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale and the Spielberger anxiety and anger scales. Methods. We used logistic and linear regression to examine whether immigrant status was associated with these psychological outcomes in Latinos-overall, Mexicans-only and Other-Latinos (non-Mexicans). Results. Compared with U.S.-born Latinos, foreign-born Latinos had significantly higher odds of meeting CES-D caseness- a score above 16, classifying depressive symptoms (p≤.05), higher anger scores (p≤.001) and a trend towards higher anxiety. These associations were similar within the Mexicans-only subgroup. Discussion. When examining self-reported distress symptoms as outcomes, our findings do not coincide with the paradoxical effect of immigration on mental health. Furthermore, associations between immigrant status and psychological outcomes differed among the Latino subgroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1719-1732
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Immigrant health
  • Immigrant paradox
  • Latino health
  • MESA study
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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