Hispanic immigrants in the USA: social and mental health perspectives.

01 Sep 2016
Alarcón RD, Parekh A, Wainberg ML, Duarte CS, Araya R, Oquendo MA

Hispanic immigration in the USA and its effect on many areas of US society are of great relevance to health care, public health, mental health, and medical and social sciences. In this report, we review and discuss pertinent literature on causes, procedures, and eventual outcomes of Hispanic migration waves throughout the last four decades. Hispanic immigrants do not constitute a monolithic group, despite the clear predominance of Mexican and Mexican-American segments. Common features of Hispanic immigrants include a younger average age, higher presence of married households, and lower educational levels than the overall US population. Differences within the Hispanic immigrant population are present in naturalisation figures, English language fluency, occupational and income status, health insurance coverage, and sense of accomplishment in the host society. We examine most of these aspects in the context of the so-called Hispanic paradox, presented as both a cause and a result of a heavily discussed acculturative process. We investigate prevalence and other data on depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and psychotic syndromes, with emphasis on the need to do further neurobiological, epigenetic, and sociocultural research in the Hispanic population.