Ethnic identity, acculturation and the prevalence of lifetime psychiatric disorders among black, Hispanic, and Asian adults in the U.S.J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Jan; 47(1):56-63.JP
Past research has asserted that racial/ethnic minorities are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders due to their increased exposure to stressors; however most large epidemiologic studies have found that individuals who are Black or Hispanic are less likely to have most psychiatric disorders than those who are White. This study examines the associations between ethnic identity, acculturation, and major psychiatric disorders among Black, Hispanic, and Asian adults in the U.S.
The sample included Wave 2 respondents to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol Related Conditions (NESARC), a large population-based survey, who self-identified as Black (N = 6219), Asian/Native Hawaiian/Other pacific islander (N = 880), and Hispanic (N = 5963). Multivariable regression analyses were conducted examining the relationships between ethnic identity, acculturation, and the prevalence of psychiatric disorders.
Higher scores on the ethnic identity measure were associated with decreased odds of having any lifetime psychiatric diagnoses for those who were Black (AOR = 0.978; CI = 0.967-0.989), Hispanic (AOR = 0.974; CI = 0.963-0.985), or Asian (AOR = 0.96; CI = 0.936-0.984). Higher levels of acculturation were associated with an increased odds of having any lifetime psychiatric diagnosis for those who were Black (AOR = 1.027; CI = 1.009-1.046), Hispanic (AOR = 1.033; CI = 1.024-1.042), and Asian (AOR = 1.029; CI = 1.011-1.048).
These findings suggest that a sense of pride, belonging, and attachment to one's racial/ethnic group and participating in ethnic behaviors may protect against psychopathology; alternatively, losing important aspects of one's ethnic background through fewer opportunities to use one's native language and socialize with people of their ethnic group other may be a risk factor for psychopathology.