Objectives: In this study, the prevalence of and risk factors for 12 psychiatric disorders were examined by sex and ethnicity (Indian vs non-Indian) among Mexican migrant farm-workers working in Fresno County, California.
Methods: Subjects aged 18 through 59 years were selected under a cluster sampling design (n = 1001). A modified version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used for case ascertainment. The effects of sociodemographic and acculturation factors on lifetime psychiatric disorders were tested.
Results: Lifetime rates of any psychiatric disorder were as follows: men, 26.7% (SE = 1.9); women, 16.8% (SE = 1.7); Indians, 26.0% (SE = 4.5); non-Indians, 20.1% (SE = 1.3). Total lifetime rates were as follows: affective disorders, 5.7%; anxiety disorders, 12.5%; any substance abuse or dependence, 8.7%; antisocial personality, 0.2%. Lifetime prevalence of any psychiatric disorder was lower for migrants than for Mexican Americans and for the US population as a whole. High acculturation and primary US residence increased the likelihood of lifetime psychiatric disorders.
Conclusions: The results underscore the risk posed by cultural adjustment problems, the potential for progressive deterioration of this population's mental health, and the need for culturally appropriate mental health services.