Acculturation and lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders among Mexican Americans in Los Angeles

M. A. Burnam, R. L. Hough, M. Karno, Javier Escobar, C. A. Telles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Lifetime prevalence of eight major DSM-III psychiatric disorders was examined as a function of acculturation level and country of birth (Mexico or the U.S.) in a large household sample of Los Angeles adults of Mexican ethnicity. Higher acculturation was associated with higher lifetime rates of phobia, alcohol abuse or dependence, and drug abuse or dependence. There was no evidence of a curvilinear relationship of acculturation to disorder which would be predicted if bicultural Mexican Americans were at lower risk for disorder than monocultural Mexican Americans. Consistent with the acculturation findings, native-born Mexican Americans, who tended to have high levels of acculturation, had higher lifetime prevalence of disorders (phobia, alcohol abuse or dependence, drug abuse or dependence, as well as major depression and dysthymia) than immigrant Mexican Americans. After controlling for country of birth, only drug abuse or dependence among immigrants was affected by acculturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 1987


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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