Effects of time in the United States and Indian ethnicity on DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders among Mexican Americans in California

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2000 Feb;188(2):90-100. doi: 10.1097/00005053-200002000-00005.


The study examines the effects of time in the United States and Indian ethnicity on prevalence of 12 DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders among Mexican Americans in California. In Fresno County, primarily an agricultural area, 3012 participants of Mexican origin (18 to 59 years) were selected under a cluster sampling design and interviewed using a version of the World Health Organization's Composite International Diagnostic Instrument (WHO-CIDI). Lifetime prevalence of any psychiatric disorder was 46.4% for Indians and 32.9% for non-Indians. Alcohol dependence was the most prevalent disorder (Indians = 17.4%, non-Indians = 10.7%). Indians had significantly higher risk of affective disorders (adjusted OR = 2.9) and drug abuse/dependence (adjusted OR = 2.6) compared with non-Indians. Time in the United States was associated with higher risk of lifetime affective disorders and drug abuse/dependence. This effect was more pronounced among Indians. Mexican immigrants are ethnically heterogenous and Indians appear to be more vulnerable to negative effects of exposure to U.S. society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • California / epidemiology
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data