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Impact of Depression Based on Ethnic and Socioeconomic Identities: Issues of Mexican Americans

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Introduction

Depression is one of many health risk factors that has developed in people from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In the present day, a person’s identities have become a source from which depression has been able to feed itself from and become a major influencing factor to their lifestyle. Hispanics are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in the United States, ranking at 15% of the population (www.census.gov). By carrying a major role in America’s society, it is evident that there are many health risk factors that tie along with this ethnic group. In order to explore such an idea, this study will evaluate the extent of depression based on ethnicity (Mexican American) and socioeconomic status and the roles that these identities play in influencing this health risk.

Overview of Identities

Ethnicity is the state of belonging to a social group in which people share common national or cultural traditions. Mexican Americans are an ethnic group with strong bonds to their cultural backgrounds and rely on them to define their lifestyles. However, living in the United States these cultural traditions have less of an influence on this ethnicity which exposes them to problems that they find difficult to overcome. As a member of this ethnic group, I have experienced the consequences of cultural adaptation. Through my friends and family, I have observed the challenges that are present when trying to adapt to the dominant culture in society. From these challenges, “The pressure to acculturate as a lower ethnic identity to U.S. cultural norms while maintaining a strong connection to Mexican identity predicted high amounts of depression” (Calzada and Sales, 2019, p. 295). Despite the cultural acceptance in the U.S., it is evident that without being part of the dominant culture, outsiders face multiple health risks and for Mexican American depression appears to have a dominant role in the problem.

In addition, the socioeconomic status appears to also have a correlation with depression. For the purpose of this study, the low-income percentile was studied. Throughout the world, an individual’s socioeconomic status is a major determinant to the available resources that they are entitled to. Whether it’s medical care, education, etc, socioeconomic status is a major key to the opportunities that someone is given. For the low-income percentile, these resources are not all given and the very few are, at times are insufficient for the living conditions that they have. From a sample of 300 Latinos/as data showed that “Due to the disadvantaged community-based, respondents lived in areas characterized by high levels of poverty with potentially low levels of collective efficacy, which implicated in the increase in depression rates of Latinosas” (Cepeda et. all, 2013, p. 270), Coming from a low-income immigrant family, I have witnessed the levels of depressions that develop by trying to meet the everyday needs. The idea that one works multiple jobs or long shifts but is unable to earn enough to maintain a roof over their family is one of the many problems low-income communities face. The difficulties faced by low-income communities is a factor for the rise of depression within the member of these groups which shows the degree in which socioeconomic status can influence the health of a person.

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Overview of Risk Factors

Depression is one of the many health risk factors that individuals face. Although the root for this health risk can range from one’s identity to their lifestyle. It is a problem that can have a major impact regardless of the one cultural, social or any other type of background characteristic. From a national health perspective, “Depression is found to be among the most common mental health disorders, particularly among women and young children” (Calzada and Sales, 2019, p. 288). This risk factor proves to be a major health problem for individuals despite the resources they have available. Furthermore, depression is not only limited to the areas of study in this research. It can arise across all spectrums of society and bring individuals life-threatening problems along its way according to the resources they have available.

Long-term Health Consequences

In a long-term perspective, depression has been shown to influence the lifestyles of Mexican Americans according to the social class that they live under. “From a group of 1,1,22 low-income Mexican Americans, 387 (35 %) claimed to have major depressive disorders which overpowered alcoholic (34%) and drug (8%) disorders” (Almasy et. all, 2011, p. 564). By over ranking the usage of drugs and alcohol in this study, depression can be categorized as a greater threat to overcome in the long run. Having similar results to that of drugs, it is evident that depression be a greater threat than just a health risk. The addiction that drugs bring to individuals alone can lead to life-threatening decisions and considering that depression is no different it can become a major long-term problem with little to no form of recovery. Furthermore, the concept of acculturation (introduced earlier in this study) can be categorized as a long-term health risk consequence that derives from depression. An interview of 135 Mexican Americans stated that “Mexican Americans that are less accultured to U.S. norms demonstrated higher reliance on food stamps and health insurance, more inclined to live in poverty, less medical resources, and spoke Spanish over English, in compared to it’s accultured counterparts” (Calzada and Sales, 2019, p. 291). The data demonstrates that Mexican Americans will be more inclined to rely on factors that are consequences of depression if they decide to not assimilate to the dominant culture in society. This places them in a situation that puts their well-being over their cultural backgrounds. If an individual chooses to remain in their cultural traditions, he or she faces circumstances of falling into depression. The long-term health consequence of acculturation is that Mexican Americans must decide whether their cultural traditions is worth giving up for their greater good. A decision that requires an extensive time period in order to make in which depression will play a role in.

Preventions and Interventions & Treatments

The research used in order to construct this study provides little measures of prevention programs against depression in low-income Mexican American communities. However, the concept of “familismo” was introduced as a major cure for this health risk. It encouraged Mexican Americans to sustain and develop strong ties with their family members as they were the best source to overcome depression. In the other hand, civil treatment against this health risk would be social activism in support of cultural acceptance. Despite the political attacks against Mexican Americans, society has persuaded individuals to accept the social conditions of this ethnic group despite the critics behind them. This allowed Mexican Americans to develop a sense of security which would result in them having less depression to come across. In addition, despite uncultured Mexican Americans showing the highest rates of depression, with the acceptance of their cultural traditions, they will be less inclined to make the decision whether to assimilate to the dominant culture or not. Throughout time, society has progressed into a more acceptable environment in the United States, an innovation that has allowed cultural traditions to be freely expressed. With this progression, the decline of depression within Mexican Americans would be expected. Overall, it is evident that the concept of “familismo” is what strives Mexican Americans to overcome depression regardless of their socioeconomic status they come from.

Discussion

This study introduced various key points that demonstrated the causes for depression in ethnicity and socioeconomic status. It was stated that low-income Mexican Americans face higher rates of depression through cultural decisions and the economic status in which they stand in. Through these two identity factors, I have been able to understand the consequences that I can come across as a member of this group. The high probabilities presented in these two identity factors have not only proven to have health risks but also lead to greater problems in which members of the group will have face severe life-threatening problems.

References

  1. Calzada, E. J., & Sales, A. (2019). Depression among Mexican-origin mothers: Exploring the immigrant paradox. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 25(2), 288-298.http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000214
  2. Corona, M., McCarty, C., Cauce, A. M., Robins, R. W., Widaman, K. F., & Conger, R. D. (2012). The Relation Between Maternal and Child Depression in Mexican American Families. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 34(4), 539–556. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739986312455160
  3. Hughes, S. O., Anderson, C. B., Power, T. G., Micheli, N., Jaramillo, S., & Nicklas, T. A.
  4. (2006). Measuring feeding in low-income African-American and Hispanic parents.
  5. Appetite, 46(2), 215–223.
  6. Olvera RL, Bearden CE, Velligan DI, Almasy L, Cariess MA, Curran JE, Williamson DE, Duggirala R, Blangero J, Glahn DC. 2011. Common Genetic Influences on Depression, Alcohol, and Substance Use Disorders in Mexican-American Families. Am J Med Genet Part B 156:561-568.
  7. Saint Onge, J.M., Cepeda, A., Lee King, P.A. et al. Am J Community Psychol (2013) 52: 263. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-013-9592-4

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Impact of Depression Based on Ethnic and Socioeconomic Identities: Issues of Mexican Americans. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/impact-of-depression-based-on-ethnic-and-socioeconomic-identities-issues-of-mexican-americans/
“Impact of Depression Based on Ethnic and Socioeconomic Identities: Issues of Mexican Americans.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/impact-of-depression-based-on-ethnic-and-socioeconomic-identities-issues-of-mexican-americans/
Impact of Depression Based on Ethnic and Socioeconomic Identities: Issues of Mexican Americans. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/impact-of-depression-based-on-ethnic-and-socioeconomic-identities-issues-of-mexican-americans/> [Accessed 1 Feb. 2023].
Impact of Depression Based on Ethnic and Socioeconomic Identities: Issues of Mexican Americans [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 Feb 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/impact-of-depression-based-on-ethnic-and-socioeconomic-identities-issues-of-mexican-americans/
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