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Res Hum Dev. 2007;4(1):19-47.

Looking Beyond Nativity: The Relation of Age of Immigration, Length of Residence, and Birth Cohorts to the Risk of Onset of Psychiatric Disorders for Latinos.

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  • 1Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA USA.

Abstract

Past studies yield inconsistent results regarding risk of psychopathology for U.S. Latinos by nativity possibly due to differences across immigrants in their age of arrival to the U.S., their length of residence in the U.S., or birth-cohort differences. This paper seeks to document the relation of age of arrival, time in the U.S., and cohort effects on the risk of onset of psychiatric disorders using a nationally representative sample of 2554 Latinos in the coterminous United States. Risk of onset of psychiatric disorders was assessed using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI, Kessler & Ustun, 2004). Findings indicate that Latino immigrants have lower risks of onset for some psychiatric disorders in their country of origin, but once in the U.S., Latino immigrants appear to experience similar risks of onset as U.S.-born Latinos of the same age. The longer Latino immigrants remain in their country of origin, the less cumulative risk of onset they experience, resulting in lower lifetime rates of disorders. These findings could potentially be due to variation in cultural and social norms and expectations across geographical contexts, differences in family structure and gender roles, as well as artifactual-level explanations.

PMID:
19412354
PMCID:
PMC2675924
DOI:
10.1080/15427600701480980
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