Ethnic Minorities and Mental Health

Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 17, pp. 351-383, 1991

33 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2011 Last revised: 11 Jul 2011

William A. Vega

University of Southern California

Rubén G. Rumbaut

University of California, Irvine - Department of Sociology

Date Written: 1991

Abstract

The sociological study of the mental health of racial-ethnic minorities addresses issues of core theoretical and empirical concern to the discipline. This review summarizes current knowledge about minority mental health and identifies conceptual and methodological problems that continue to confront research in this field. First, a critique is presented of epidemiological approaches to the definition and measurement of mental health in general, and minority mental health in particular, including an overview of the most frequently used symptom scales and diagnostic protocols. Next, the most important research studies conducted over the past two decades are summarized and discussed, and comparisons of prevalence rates and correlates of depressive symptomatology among Black, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian ethnic groups are provided. Following the overview of descriptive epidemiological findings, some key analytic issues surrounding the study of stress, adaptation and minority mental health are considered. Finally, we propose various recommendations for future research.

Keywords: mental health, racial-ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees, depressive symptomatology, psychiatric epidemiology, stress, adaptation, measurement of mental health

Suggested Citation

Vega, William A. and Rumbaut, Rubén G., Ethnic Minorities and Mental Health (1991). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 17, pp. 351-383, 1991. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1881264

William A. Vega

University of Southern California ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Rubén G. Rumbaut (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Sociology ( email )

3151 Social Sciences Plaza A
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States

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