"Where we're from, that's what they do": An Examination of Female Mexican Immigrants' Perceptions of Mental Health and Treatment in Clarkston, Georgia Open Access

Choban, Ana (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/nz805z85c?locale=en


Introduction: Globally, there are billions of people who may not subscribe to the same psychological beliefs as those of Western-based mental health practitioners; millions of those people live in the United States. Many of them have difficulty accessing mental health care, yet few researchers have explored reasons why beyond the policy or stigma levels.

Methods: The purpose of this research is to examine perceptions of mental health and treatment among one such population. In order to do this, the researcher used a mixed methods approach, utilizing a survey and focus group. A systematic literature review was also performed to supplement the small available sample size.

Research: The researcher divided the research question into six themes for the literature review: definition of a migrant, effects of mental health on physical health, prevalence of mental health issues in the general population, non-Western views on mental health, mental health stigma, and mental health services available in Mexico and the United States. There has been much research done in each of the areas, however, there is not enough published literature on the intersection of all these themes. For the primary research, the researcher chose a mixed methods study design, using a short quantitative survey and focus groups discussion (FGD). In order to be included, potential participants must have fit each of the following criteria: non-native English speaking women over the age of 18 originating from Mexico who were participating in a social support group at a specific apartment complex located in Clarkston, GA. In total six (6) participants completed the survey, and four (4) participated in the focus group.

Results: The results of the quantitative data found that participants had significantly lower perceived knowledge in the areas of symptoms and treatment (average perceived knowledge in those categories were 66.67% and 61.11%, respectively). Survey participants also unanimously reported that they would never choose to go to a doctor for mental health reasons. The qualitative results focus on the eight selected themes identified by the researcher. Six of the themes were inductive, and the other two emerged from the data during analysis. The six inductive themes were: experiences and perceptions with doctors/psychology; promoters and hindrances to help seeking decisions; structural barriers and facilitators to care; cause of mental health changes; vocabulary; and confidants. The two deductive themes were: mental versus physical health, and language as a source of isolation.

Discussion: After an examination of the literature and analysis of the primary research, the researcher prioritized potential interventions at each level of the socio-ecological model based on the collected data. The researcher recommends the continuation and expansion of social support groups for medically underserved populations in the Clarkston, GA area, as these interventions are relatively low-resource and have high levels of impact.

Table of Contents

Abstract iv

Acknowledgements vi

Table of Figures and Tables viii

Introduction 9

Glossary of Terms 10

Literature Review Methodology 11

Literature Review 14

Case Study Research Methodology 34

Quantitative Data Analysis 41

Qualitative Data Analysis 45

Discussion 60

References 69

Appendix 1- Survey Tool 72

Appendix 2- Focus Group Guide 76

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