Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 257–267

Depressive Symptomatology and Mental Health Help-Seeking Patterns of U.S.- and Foreign-Born Mothers

  • Zhihuan Jennifer Huang
  • Frank Y. Wong
  • Cynthia R. Ronzio
  • Stella M. Yu
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10995-006-0168-x

Cite this article as:
Huang, Z.J., Wong, F.Y., Ronzio, C.R. et al. Matern Child Health J (2007) 11: 257. doi:10.1007/s10995-006-0168-x

Abstract

Objectives: This report presents the national estimates of maternal depressive symptomatology prevalence and its socio-demographic correlates among major racial/ethnic-nativity groups in the United States. We also examined the relationship of mental health-seeking patterns by race/ethnicity and nativity. Methods: Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey-Birth Cohort Nine-month data, we present the distribution of Center for Epidemiological Study-Depression (CES-D) score by new mothers’ nativity and race/ethnicity. The mental health-seeking pattern study was limited to mothers with moderate to severe symptoms. Weighted prevalence and 95% confidence intervals for depression score categories were presented by race/ethnic groups and nativity. Multi-variable logistic regression was used to obtain the adjusted odds ratios of help-seeking patterns by race/ethnicity and nativity in mothers with moderate to severe symptoms. Results: Compared to foreign-born mothers, mothers born in the U.S. were more likely to have moderate to severe depressive symptoms in every racial/ethnic group except for Asian/Pacific Islanders. These US-born mothers were also more likely to be teenagers, lack a partner at home, and live in rural areas. Among Asians, Filipina mothers had the highest rate of severe depressive symptoms (9.6%), similar to those of US-born black mothers (10.2%). Racial/ethnic minorities and foreign-born mothers were less likely to consult doctors (OR: 2.2 to 2.5) or think they needed consultation (OR: 1.9 to 2.2) for their emotional problems compare to non-Hispanic White mothers. Conclusion: Our research suggests that previous “global estimates” on Asian American mental health underestimated sub-ethnic group differences. More efforts are needed to overcome the barriers in mental health services access and utilizations, especially in minority and foreign-born populations.

Keywords

Maternal depressionRacial/ethnic minorityForeign-bornCES-D

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhihuan Jennifer Huang
    • 1
  • Frank Y. Wong
    • 1
  • Cynthia R. Ronzio
    • 2
  • Stella M. Yu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of International Health, School of Nursing and Health StudiesGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Children’s National Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Research & Demonstration BranchDRTE/MCHB/HRSARockvilleUSA