Online Program

A comparison of physical health, mental health and health service-seeking among Latino Americans in the US

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

Hoa B. Appel, PhD, MPH, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Univ of Washington Bothell, Bothell, WA
Bu Huang, PhD, Bastyr Research Institute, Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA
La Tonya Noel, PhD, College of Social Work, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Amy Ai, PhD, Psychology, Social Work, Family Medicine, and Nursing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
William Hefley, PhD, Katz Graduate School of Business & College of Business Administration, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
There is ample research showing there are health disparities for minorities with respect to seeking mental health services in the US. Although there are general barriers for minorities in health service seeking, Latino women are more vulnerable due to their negative experience and lower satisfaction in receiving health care as compared to Latino men. Latino Americans are the largest minority population in the US. We analyzed the chronic, behavioral, mental health and health care service seeking of Latina American women and compared them to those of Latino American men. Using the first epidemiological nationally representative sample (n=2,554) from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS), we examined the annual rates of chronic, behavioral, and mental healthcare service utilization including general medical, specialty mental health, and any medical services in three major subgroups of Latino American: Cuban, Mexican and Puerto Rican American. The NLAAS questionnaire was available in both English and Spanish. Respondents were asked the types of mental health services they used with questions such as “How many visits did you make to a psychiatrist, psychologist, other mental health professional, general practitioner, nurse… in the past 12 months?” Satisfaction with care received was asked with “In general, how satisfied are you with the treatments and services you received from (service provider) in the past 12 months?” Chronic health problems varied with three major subgroups of Latino Americans. In physical health, Puerto Rican American women reported the highest rate of allergies and asthma, while Puerto Rican American men reported high rates of cardiovascular disease. All three subgroups of Latina American women reported having high body mass indices, while both male and females of all groups reported having similar rates of major depression diagnosis. Cuban American women saw their general practitioner most frequently (7%), while Puerto Rican American men visited other health care providers (such as nurses, counselors, mental health provider) most frequently (6.7%) in the past 12 months. Latina Americans encountered various physical, behavioral, and mental health problems and yet had low health care service-seeking rates. Latinas and Latinos have similar and different rates in various health issues. Therefore, it is critical to further examine factors associated with the underestimation of physical and mental health problems and underutilization of health services in Latina/o American population.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify significant factors, including those relating to acculturation, that contribute to the lack of service-seeking in Latino Americans Compare four differences of behavioral and mental health related issues between Latino American men and women List four barriers to obtaining mental health care faced by minorities Discuss four reasons why disparities in mental health care exist in minority populations in the US

Keyword(s): Health Care Access, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the primary researcher on this study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.