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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Historical trauma and substance abuse among Mexican Americans

Antonio Estrada, PhD, Mexican American Studies & Research Center, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210023, Cesar E. Chavez Bldg, #23, Room 208-C, Tucson, AZ 85721-0023, 520-621-5121, aestrada@u.arizona.edu

Issues: The concept of historical trauma has almost exclusively been applied to Native Americans. However, the historical experience of the Mexican-origin population has many parallels that lend themselves to the application of the concept of historical trauma to substance abuse.

Description: The social, historical and cultural influences of European colonization on the indigenous populations of the Americas contributed to the erosion of indigenous cultural values, especially in relation to substance use. This presentation highlights the legacy of Spanish colonialism and Anglo-American Neo-colonialism on Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the Southwestern United States.

Implications: A thorough understanding of the social and historical dynamics that have contributed to substance abuse problems among Mexicans and Mexican Americans will assist in delineating potential solutions, including positive ethnic identity and cultural empowerment.

Recommendations: Behavioral health professionals and researchers need to better understand how the “dynamics of difference,” in this case the influence of historical trauma on Mexicans and Mexican Americans, shapes substance abuse patterns, and to become more culturally proficient in dealing with clients from this group.

Learning Objectives: Upon completion of the presentation attendees will be able to

Keywords: Substance Abuse, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues Among Hispanics

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA