Intergenerational Differences in Barriers that Impede Mental Health Service Use among Latinxs

Project Title: Intergenerational Differences in Barriers that Impede Mental Health Service Use Among Latinxs

Project Lead: Irene Escobar, M.S.

UNT IRB#: IRB-21-478

Funding Source: via a gift from the Lupe Murchison Foundation (Drs. Callahan and Ruggero, co-PIs)

Study Status: In progress

Study Description: Latinxs are one of the largest and fastest growing racial/ethnic groups in the United States (Villalobos et al., 2016). Research has extensively documented mental health disparities that exist for ethnic and racial minorities (Walker et al., 2015). Less than 1 in 11 Latinxs with mental health disorders seek treatment from a mental health care specialist and fewer than 1 in 5 Latinxs seek help from their general health care provider (Satcher, 2001). Although there has been an increase in mental health service use among Latinxs over the past decades, the rate of utilization among this population remains low (Alegría et al., 2007a). Various factors have been used to explain why disparities are evident including racial/ethnic variation in perceived need for treatment, attitudinal barriers and structural barriers (Green et al., 2020). Research on the relationship between mental health treatment seeking and Latinxs provides evidence for the underutilization of mental health services among this group (Rastogi et al., 2012). The immigration pattern and generation status may provide key information for the mental health treatment for this group. For example, studies have found that different patterns of mental health emerge when the Latinx ethnic category is further broken down by country of origin (Alegría et al., 2007b; Keyes et al., 2012). Differences among generational groups have also been documented such as the immigrant paradox (Teruya & Bazargan-Hejazi, 2013). Barriers to accessing mental health treatment among ethnic and racial minorities include both structural and attitudinal barriers (Green et al., 2020). The current study aims to examine the associations between barriers to mental health treatment and generational status to discover whether trends in barriers experienced exist by generational status. The goal of the study is to enhance understanding of differences that may exist within the Latinx ethnic group in regard to treatment barriers. In an attempt to better understand unique cultural barriers that impede treatment access, a questionnaire will be developed to capture the unique experiences of Latinxs and cultural barriers they may face with regard to treatment seeking behavior. Examining the role of generational status and its association with barriers to mental health treatment can help inform mental health providers of any differences that may exist between first, second, and third-generation Latinxs.