Latinos’ Conceptualization of Depression, Diabetes, and Mental Health–Related Stigma

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Depression and diabetes are two of the most common health conditions experienced by those from Latino backgrounds. However, community-based stigma toward these health conditions may discourage those experiencing symptoms of depression or diabetes from seeking professional assistance. To assess stigma in the Latino community toward these common health conditions, a community-based sample of 469 Latino participants in a major urban area in the [Southwestern United States — Houston, TX] completed a face-to-face survey using an experimental vignette methodology. Participants were asked to name the problem that the subject of the vignette was experiencing based on the symptoms described in the vignette. This survey also inquired about public stigma toward individuals experiencing symptoms of depression and/or diabetes. Results indicate that although the majority (60%) of the sample were able to correctly identify symptoms of depression, it was more difcult for them to identify symptoms of depression with co-occurring diabetes. Overall levels of public stigma toward those experiencing depression were moderate, and co-occurring symptoms of diabetes did not moderate stigma toward those experiencing depression. These fndings indicate a need for intervention approaches within the Latino community to increase health literacy related to depression and type 2 diabetes, as well as an ongoing need to reduce stigma toward those experiencing symptoms of depression. Implications for future research, practice, and health promotion are discussed.


© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2021

Publication Title

Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities