Prevalence of Psychiatric Illnesses in Older Ethnic Minority Adults

Authors

  • Daniel E. Jimenez PhD,

    1. From the *Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Harvard Medical School and Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, Massachusetts; and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Margarita Alegría PhD,

    1. From the *Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Harvard Medical School and Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, Massachusetts; and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Chih-nan Chen PhD,

    1. From the *Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Harvard Medical School and Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, Massachusetts; and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Domin Chan PhD,

    1. From the *Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Harvard Medical School and Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, Massachusetts; and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mara Laderman BA

    1. From the *Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Harvard Medical School and Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, Massachusetts; and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Daniel Jimenez, Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research 120 Beacon St., Fourth Floor Somerville, MA 02143. E-mail: daniel.e.jimenez@dartmouth.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To compare lifetime and 12-month prevalence of psychiatric disorders in a nationally representative sample of older Latino, Asian, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean adults with that of older non-Latino white adults.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study conducted in 2001 through 2004.

SETTING: Urban and rural households in the contiguous United States.

PARTICIPANTS: Two thousand three hundred seventy-five community-dwelling residents aged 60 and older living in noninstitutional settings. Data are from the National Institutes of Mental Health Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Studies.

METHODS: The World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview assessed lifetime and 12-month psychiatric disorders. Bayesian estimates compared psychiatric disorder prevalence rates of ethnic and racial groups.

RESULTS: Older non-Latino whites exhibited a greater prevalence on several lifetime diagnoses than older Asian, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean respondents. Older Latinos did not differ from older non-Latino whites on any lifetime diagnosis and had higher 12-month rates of any depressive disorder. No differences were observed in the 12-month diagnoses between older non-Latino whites and the other racial and ethnic minority groups. Older immigrant Latinos had higher lifetime rates of dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) than U.S.-born Latinos. Older immigrant Asians had higher lifetime rates of GAD than U.S.-born Asians. Older immigrant Latinos had higher 12-month rates of dysthymia than older U.S.-born Latinos.

CONCLUSION: Caution should be taken when generalizing the protective effects of ethnicity into old age. Older Asians and African-Americans exhibited lower prevalence rates of some psychiatric disorders, whereas older Latinos exhibited rates equal to those of older non-Latino whites. Also, the protective effect of nativity seems to vary according to age, psychiatric disorder, and ethnicity.

Ancillary