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Psychiatr Serv. 2009 Oct;60(10):1379-82. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.60.10.1379.

Inconsistencies in diagnosis and symptoms among bilingual and English-speaking Latinos and Euro-Americans.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, Hispanic Clinic, New Haven, CT 06519, USA. esperanza.diaz@yale.edu



Little information is available about accuracy of diagnoses in clinical care for affective and other major mental disorders experienced by Latino patients. This study addressed two central research questions: Do Latinos have disproportionate rates of clinical diagnoses of major depression based on structured diagnostic interviews? Are diagnostic patterns consistent with patient profiles and medical record information?


A total of 259 bilingual Latino, monolingual English-speaking Latino, and Euro-American patients aged 18 to 45 years with a history of severe depression or psychotic symptoms were compared across three clinical sites by using structured interviews.


Compared with Euro-Americans, bilingual Latinos had significantly higher rates of major depression and significantly lower levels of mania. No significant differences were found between monolingual English-speaking Latinos and Euro-Americans.


Results suggest that the diagnostic process is affected by an apparent association with cultural-linguistic influences, notably speaking English as a second language.

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