Lifetime prevelance of and risk factors for psychiatric disorders among Mexican migrant farmworkers in California

Ethel Alderete, William Armando Vega, Bohdan Kolody, Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


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 socio-demographic and acculturation factors on lifetime psychiatric disorders were tested. Results. Lifetime rates of any psychiatric disorders 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 prevelance of any psychiatric disorder was lower from migrants than for Mexican Americans and for the US population as a whole. High acculturation and primary US residence increased the likehood of life-time psychiatric disorders. Conclusions. The results underscore the risk posed by cultural adjustment problems, the potential from progressive deterioration of this population's mental health, and the need for culturally appropriate mental health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-614
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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