Exploring the mental health of Mexican migrant farm workers in the Midwest: psychosocial predictors of psychological distress and suggestions for prevention and treatment

J Psychol. 2002 Sep;136(5):493-513. doi: 10.1080/00223980209605546.


The purposes of the present study were threefold: (a) to assess the prevalence levels of anxiety and depression in a sample of Mexican migrant farm workers in the midwestern United States; (b) to explore the relationships among acculturative stress, anxiety, and depression; and (c) to examine the variables that best predict anxiety and depression. The overall sample revealed elevated levels of anxiety and depression. Migrant farm workers with heightened levels of acculturative stress were more likely to report high levels of anxiety and depression. Family dysfunction, ineffective social support, low self-esteem, lack of agreement with the decision to migrate, high education levels, high levels of acculturative stress, and high levels of anxiety were significantly associated with high depression levels. The overall findings suggest that migrant farm workers who experience elevated levels of acculturative stress may be at risk for experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression. The findings highlight the importance of establishing prevention and treatment services for migrant farm workers that aim to increase levels of emotional support, self-esteem, and coping skills.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / psychology
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*