Online Program

Acculturation and Stigma of Mental Illness in Hispanic/Latino Youth

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Melissa DuPont-Reyes, MPH, Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, NY
Jo C. Phelan, PhD, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Kay Barkin, Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County, Fort Worth, TX
Bruce Link, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, NY
Kris Painter, PhD, LCSW, MHMR of Tarrant County, Forth Worth, TX
Background:Acculturation and acculturative stress are associated with poor mental health in Hispanic/Latino youth necessitating evaluating stigma of mental illness (MI) through a cultural lens. We examine first-time whether culture and ethnic identity via acculturation influence how Hispanic/Latino youth view MI and its services. Hispanic/Latino identity encompasses different nationalities, races, and educational and socioeconomic levels. Spanish language use and cultural values tend to be shared linkages that measure acculturation.

Methods:Data are from a randomized school-based intervention study aimed at reducing MI stigma among 721 sixth-graders in Texas from 2011-2012. Among the Hispanic/Latino longitudinal sample (n=182), acculturation was measured on a continuum and categorized into tertiles: Hispanic/Latino-dominant, bicultural, and Anglo/US-dominant. Two-sided Dunnett tests examined acculturation differences in knowledge, help-seeking, social distance, and attitudes regarding MI in response to personal experience and two vignette subjects described as having social anxiety or bipolar disorder. Acculturative stress and symptoms related to anxiety, manic behavior, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were also examined.

Findings:Compared to bicultural and Anglo/US-dominant, Hispanic/Latino-dominant youth reported better help-seeking but more social distance in response to vignettes, and fewer positive and more negative attitudes towards MI (P<0.05). Compared to the dominant-oriented groups, bicultural youth reported more acculturative stress and symptoms (P<0.10). No differences in knowledge of MI were found.

Implications: Interventions aimed to improve stigma of MI specific to Hispanic/Latino-dominant youth are needed. Bicultural youth may exhibit challenges in juggling two cultures leading to poor mental health and thus may require special support in overcoming the bicultural divide.

Learning Areas:

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

Learning Objectives:
Describe differences of stigma of mental illness among Hispanic/Latino youth by acculturation. Describe differences in acculturative stress and symptoms related to anxiety, manic behavior, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among Hispanic/Latino youth by acculturation. Explain different measures to determine mental illness stigma in youth.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a research assistant on this federally funded grant since June 2011 and am currently pursuing a doctorate degree in epidemiology. I previously presented at APHA in 2011 in the area of relationship violence and community violence among adolescents in NYC, in 2013 on racial/ethnic differences in mental health help-seeking behaviors, and finally, in 2014 on the effect of a stigma intervention on received and delivered problem behaviors.
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.