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Emotional support providers and psychological distress among Anglo- and Mexican Americans.

Authors
  • Griffith, J
Type
Published Article
Journal
Community mental health journal
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1984
Volume
20
Issue
3
Pages
182–201
Identifiers
PMID: 6499401
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Accumulating evidence from studies investigating the role naturally-occurring emotional support networks play in remediating psychological distress strongly suggests that such networks buffer personal distress and lessen the need for formal mental health care. Research findings also suggest that reliance on emotional support networks varies across ethnic groups. The present study compared emotional support network characteristics of Anglo-Americans to those of Mexican Americans, in addition to examining the relationship between the reliance on specific support providers and psychopathological symptoms for Anglo- and Mexican Americans. Randomly selected adult Anglo- and Mexican Americans (n = 515) living in one of three suburban communities in Southern California provided responses to a standardized measure of psychological impairment and named those persons on whom they depended in time of personal problems. Both Anglo- and English speaking Mexican American (ES MA) respondents reported significantly larger networks and more cumulative contact and reciprocity with network members than did Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans (SS MA) respondents. Anglos and ES MAs named significantly more friends and neighbors as emotional support providers than did SS MAs. SS MAs, on the other hand, more often depended on extended kin and spouses than did the other two subgroups. Professional caregivers accounted for a very small proportion of responses across the subgroups. The number of friends and neighbors as support providers was significantly and positively correlated with problems of social relations in only the SS MA subgroup. Implications of results for community mental health direct and indirect service components are discussed.

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