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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. terceira.berdahl@ahrq.hhs.gov


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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