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Original Article
December 2004

Immigration and Lifetime Prevalence of DSM-IV PsychiatricDisorders Among Mexican Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites in the United States: Results From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and RelatedConditions

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Laboratory of Epidemiologyand Biometry, Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, NationalInstitute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health,Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Md (Drs Grant, Stinson,Dawson, Chou, and Anderson); Departments of Epidemiology and Psychiatry, ColumbiaUniversity and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY (Dr Hasin).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004;61(12):1226-1233. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.61.12.1226
Abstract

Background  There exist no national prevalence data on specific DSM-IV Axis I psychiatric disorders among foreign-born and US-born Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites.

Objective  To present nationally representative data on the prevalence of DSM-IV lifetime psychiatric disorders among foreign-born and US-born Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites.

Design  Face-to-face survey conducted in the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

Setting  The United States and District of Columbia, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Participants  Household and group-quarters residents, aged 18 years and older (n = 43 093).

Main Outcome Measures  Prevalence of DSM-IV substance use disorders and mood and anxiety disorders.

Results  With few exceptions, foreign-born Mexican Americans and foreign-born non-Hispanic whites were at significantly lower risk (P<.05) of DSM-IV substance use and mood and anxiety disorders compared with their US-born counterparts. Although the risk of specific psychiatric disorders was similar between foreign-born Mexican Americans and foreign-born non-Hispanic whites, US-born Mexican Americans were at significantly lower risk (P<.05) of psychiatric morbidity than US-born non-Hispanic whites.

Conclusions  Data favoring foreign-born Mexican Americans with respect to mental health may extend to foreign-born non-Hispanic whites. Future research among foreign-born and US-born Mexican Americans and the foreign-born and US-born of other origins and descents is needed to understand what appears to be the protective effects of culture and the deleterious effects of acculturation on psychiatric morbidity in the United States.

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