Category: Cultural Diversity / Vulnerable Populations
Depression among Latinx adolescents is reported at a higher rate than adolescents of other ethnic backgrounds (Céspedes & Huey Jr, 2008), yet little is known about the actions taken when an individual has depression. Research has shown that among acculturated Latinx adults there is a less favorable view of seeking help for their mental health problems (Ramos-Sanchez, & Atkinson, 2009). Furthermore, a majority of Latinx adolescents, including Latinx girls, do not receive care for their mental health issues (Cauce et al., 2002). Understanding how acculturation, generational status, and family values influence help seeking among Latinx youth living in the US is essential to providing the care that this population needs. The objective of this study was to examine whether cultural identity, generational status, and acculturation influence Latinx youth’s knowledge about what to do if an individual is depressed. Forty-three (N=43) 11-12th grade Latinx girls answered acculturation and depression self-report measures and completed a diagnostic assessment and a qualitative interview describing their understanding and cultural experiences with depression. Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed and coded independently. Participants (mean age = 17.07 years, SD=.77) primarily spoke Spanish at home (63%), and were mostly first (51%) or second generation (40%). Acculturation rating scores indicated that the sample was bicultural (mean AOS=3.59, SD=.63; mean MOS=4.03, SD=.74). Sixty-five percent (n=28) of participants met criteria for a current or past major or minor depressive episode but only seven participants (25%) received psychotherapy or medication treatment. Age, number of years in the US, and Latinx cultural identity did not influence their perceptions of what to do when depressed. Among participants who expressed that being Latinx influenced what to do when someone is depressed, qualitative data suggested that stereotypes, language, and parental involvement were important factors associated with the Latinx culture and played a role in what to do when depressed. Additionally, these participants indicated that “talking to others” was helpful for depressed individuals. Despite demographic and cultural similarities between those who expressed that their Latinx identity influenced their depression help-seeking knowledge, there were some noted differences in what they said they would do if someone was depressed. Understanding the factors that influence Latinx youth’s knowledge about what to do if an individual, including themselves, is depressed will further guide clinicians in providing culturally competent services.