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Public health clinic study links 'Americanization' and depression
Date:8/12/2008

A study of 439 U.S. and Mexican-born Latinas seeking pregnancy and postpartum services at public health clinics in San Antonio uncovered elevated levels of depression among the more "Americanized" women, report researchers from The University of Texas School of Public Health and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in the most recent online issue of the Maternal and Child Health Journal.

"Americanization" or acculturation is the process by which immigrants adopt the lifestyle and customs of their host nation, and key indicators include preferred language and place of birth, lead author Marivel Davila said. Davila is a graduate student at the UT School of Public Health and a quantitative research analyst at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Elevated levels of depression were reported by the women born in the United States, as well as those who asked to conduct their interviews in English. Two non-acculturation variables were associated with elevated depression - being single and being pregnant.

"Screening for depression during pregnancy is important for this population group, given Latinas' high rates of fertility and births to single women, particularly among more acculturated U.S.- born Latinas," Davila and her colleagues wrote in the article.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, single motherhood among Latinas in Texas exceeds the national average. In Texas in 2005, 43 percent of all Latina births were to single women. Nationally, the overall average was 37 percent.

"The sample for this study was a low-income population," Davila said. "Our conclusions may or may not be different for women in other socioeconomic status (SES) groups. Hence, more research needs to be conducted among Latinas from differing SES groups, including research focusing on the role of social support and cultural values/beliefs related to childbirth and pregnancy among Latinas."


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Contact: Robert Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3042
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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