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The prevalence of depressive symptoms among Mexican Americans and Anglos

American Journal of Epidemiology 120(4): 592-607

The prevalence of depressive symptoms among Mexican Americans and Anglos

The study reports epidemiologic field survey data on the distribution of depressive symptoms among Anglos (n = 637) and two Mexican-American subsamples (n = 551) living in Santa Clara County, California. One of the Mexican-American subsamples was interviewed in English (n = 330) and the other in Spanish (n = 221). Analysis of variance indicated that those with low educational achievement, females, those in disrupted marital statuses, and those under 30 years of age had significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than their counterparts. The prevalence of depressive symptoms for the Anglo and Mexican-American English-speaking samples was very similar and much lower than that reported by the Spanish-speaking Mexican-American subsample. Differences in educational levels appear to be accounting for many of the variations in depressive symptoms between the Anglo and English-speaking subsamples and the Spanish-speaking one. The authors suggest that the lack of language skills along with low educational achievement may be indicating a relative lack of acculturation and societal integration which in turn may be accounting for some of the increased symptoms among the Spanish-speaking subsample. The results of multiple stepwise regression analyses indicate that age, sex, marital status, and educational attainment explain relatively low and fluctuating amounts of the total variance. These analyses also indicate that social and demographic factors are differentially related to depressive symptoms for each of the subsamples. The variables education, female, and separated were significant in all of the equations, but their order of entrance and the amount of variance explained by them varied.

Accession: 006740300

PMID: 6475928

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