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February 1969

Perception of Mental Illness in a Mexican-American Community

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Neuropsychiatric Institute, School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(2):233-238. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740140105013

THERE are almost 2 million persons of Mexican birth or descent in California, about 10% of the state's population. Mexican-Americans also represent about 10% of the 7 million residents of Los Angeles County, forming a larger ethnic minority group than the Negro population in both the state and the county.

Like Negroes, Mexican-Americans have been the objects of prejudice in the United States. Tenacious stereotypes of, and discrimination against the Mexican-American have been the focus of scattered attention,1-5 but extensive documentation has not yet been provided.

Both peoples continue to be characterized by a chronically depressed socioeconomic status marked by a low educational level with a high degree of functional illiteracy, crowded and deteriorated housing, a high incidence of communicable disease, limited employment opportunities, and limited political power until the recent period of rapid growth of political strength.

Mexican-Americans, however, are a unique people in

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