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Community Ment Health J. 2009 Oct;45(5):393-403. doi: 10.1007/s10597-009-9231-6. Epub 2009 Aug 19.

Examining Latino differences in mental healthcare use: the roles of acculturation and attitudes towards healthcare.

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  • 1Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Suite 5000, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.


Latinos are less likely to use mental health services compared to non-Latino whites, but little research has examined the relative contribution of acculturation and attitudes towards healthcare. In the current study, we analyze data from a nationally representative sample of Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and non-Latino whites from the 2002-2003 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (n = 30,234). Findings show different utilization patterns in use of specialty, non-specialty, and any type of mental healthcare across the three Latino subgroups. The predictive efficacy of acculturation variables on ethnic group differences varies by subgroup. Self-reliant attitudes towards healthcare are associated with lower use, but these attitudes do not explain the ethnic gaps in use.

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