Ingrid Diaz, School of Psychology
This study focused on the impact of immigration and acculturation on recent Latino immigrants suffering from mental illness. The participants migrated to an inner-city, densely populated area, with prevalent Latino enclaves. All interviewees were adults, self-identified heterosexuals, from Latin American countries, diagnosed with a psychiatric condition within 5 years of arrival to the United States. Subjects included two men and eight women, 24 to 52 years of age, with diverse socioeconomic and educational levels. Participants were legal residents or undocumented immigrants, with an array of psychiatric conditions, ranging from Major Depression Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Common themes that emerged were an idealization of their lives in the country of origin, fear, failure, perceived eminent danger, disillusion, disconnectedness, regret, resentment, self-loathing, promiscuity, and unforgiveness of themselves. Findings indicated that symptomatology presented within the first 6 months to a year of arrival, leading to persistent and severe mental illness.
Key Words: Latinos, immigration, acculturation.