Depression, acculturation, and relationship power in Mexican immigrant women: an exploratory study Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/3b591c531

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  • One of the largely undetected and untreated health conditions affecting the Latino population in the United States is depression. Although the onset of depression can be influenced by a variety of factors that differ among individuals, Latinos in the United States are subject to certain cultural-specific social and environmental stresses that may increase their risk. As Latinos become more acculturated into the American mainstream, they may be less likely to experience these stressors. Latina women have been found to have considerably higher rates of depression symptoms than their male counterparts; traditional values of the culture may be creating a sociocultural backdrop of gender inequality that could serve as a precursor to mental disorders. There is a gap in the research in relation to how depression rates in Latinas may be affected by the process of acculturation in the context of gender-based roles and power. This study is an exploration of how acculturation and relationship power affect the presence or absence of depression symptoms in Mexican immigrant women. A sample of 35 women from Benton County, Oregon, was interviewed using a questionnaire comprised of the revised Center for Epidemiologic Studies depression scale (CESD-R), the Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH) and the Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS). The purpose of the survey was to generate hypotheses for further research into factors that need to be taken into consideration when designing mental health programs for Latinos in the United States. Forty percent (40%) of the women in this study were classified as having depression symptoms according to their CESD-R scores, and a majority of the women were classified a having a low acculturation level. Also, the results indicate that most of the women in this study had medium to high levels of relationship power. The analysis did not yield a strong association between depression and acculturation scores or between depression and relationship power scores. There was a strong correlation found between acculturation and relationship power. It is hoped that this study will call attention to the mental health needs of Hispanic women and that the information gathered will aid in creating successful and culturally-relevant prevention and treatment services.
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