This study examined the factors associated with service utilization for mental health conditions among Latino and Asian non-U.S. citizens in the United States by service type and race.
Data were obtained from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS). The sample for this study was 849 Latino and 595 Asian non-U.S. citizens between ages 18 and 64 (N=1,444). Mental health services obtained through three types of service providers were examined: specialty mental health services, general medical services, and other services. Guided by the modified Andersen health behavioral model, analyses involved logistic regression models conducted with penalized maximum likelihood estimation.
Although having a psychiatric disorder increased mental health service use in both groups, only 32% of Latino and 52% of Asian non-U.S. citizens with psychiatric needs reported using mental health services during the past 12 months. Overall, noncitizen Latinos and Asians were more likely to use mental health services from general health care providers and other providers than from specialty mental health providers. Several significant predisposing, enabling, and need factors, such as age, health insurance, and having psychiatric conditions, also interacted with race.
Findings of the study suggest that there are ethnoracial variations in mental health service use between Latino and Asian non-U.S. citizens. Mental health professionals should consider developing tailored mental health interventions that account for cultural variations to enhance access to services for these vulnerable subgroups of Latinos and Asians. Further research should examine ethnic disparities in mental health service use among various non-U.S. citizen racial-ethnic subgroups.