Journal of Immigrant Health

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 33-36

First online:

An Audiotaped Mental Health Evaluation Tool for Hispanic Immigrants With a Range of Literacy Levels

  • Patricia BoikoAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of WashingtonDepartment of English, University of Washington Email author 
  • , Wayne KatonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Washington
  • , Juan C. GuerraAffiliated withDepartment of English, University of Washington
  • , Sara MazzoniAffiliated withDepartment of English, University of Washington

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Debilitating mental illness is treatable if found. There is no validated self-administered mental illness evaluation tool for immigrant Hispanic farm workers with variable literacy levels. This study tested sensitivity and specificity of an audiotaped survey developed for low literacy levels compared with standard interview instruments. Subjects from 11 migrant camps completed a self-administered audiotaped survey in Spanish to diagnose major depression, substance abuse, panic and generalized anxiety, and domestic violence. Primary care clinics assisted in finding camps and provided follow-up treatment. For 154 men and 156 women, the audio tool was most sensitive for major depression and specific for anxiety disorder, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. Seventy percent of those diagnosed with major depression received appropriate treatment. This study validated an inexpensive, self-administered audio tool to evaluate the mental health of immigrant Hispanic farm workers with a wide range of literacy levels.


mental health tool audiotape Hispanic farm workers migrant farm workers depression anxiety domestic violence low literacy levels