TitleCultural definitions of emotional problems
NameRasmussen, Frederick O. (author), Horwitz, Allan V (chair), Cerulo, Karen A (internal member), Hansell, Stephen (internal member), Guarnaccia, Peter J (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Hispanic Americans--Mental health,
Hispanic Americans—Mental health services,
Psychoanalysis and culture--United States
DescriptionThe research described in this dissertation explores the impact of cultural definitions of mental health/illness on care-seeking behavior among members of a Latino community living in the United States. Secondary data analysis utilizes survey data from prior research focusing on mental health service needs among Latino community members. The current research is conceptually situated at the juncture of several topics of current interest within sociology. The social construction of mental illness and cultural influences on that construction has gained importance as current topics within the broader sociological rubric of culture and cognition. The research also addresses challenges confronting mental health service providers created by a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse American population requiring appropriate cross-cultural approaches to meet their mental health service needs. Qualitative data presented in this dissertation illuminate several key concerns regarding the Latino community and community members’ recognition of, and reaction to, symptoms of mental disorder. These results underscore how Latino community members conceptualize emotional/mental problems in ways that differ from members of the majority Non-Latino White population living in the U.S. Quantitative analyses of the impact of demographic variables on Latino community members’ reports of alternative beliefs about the causes of emotional/mental problems show that three of the variables (age, education, and time living in U.S.) are significant predictors of subjects’ alternative explanations for the cause of emotional/mental problems. Analyses of the impact of Latino community members’ causal definition of emotional/mental problems also show significant relationships between the definition and Latino community members’ perceptions and behaviors related to mental disorder. I discuss the ‘Latino Paradox’ and propose an alternative explanation based on community members’ shared cultural constructs regarding mental health and illness for the apparently lower rate of mental disorder among recently arrived Latino immigrants. I offer recommendations suggested by my research findings that relate to mental health services for Latino community members, and for additional research topics.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Frederick O. Rasmussen
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.