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Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression in Mexican Migrant Farmworkers: A Review of the Literature

11 December 2009


The purpose of this literature review is to provide a comprehensive review on the topic of Mexican migrant farmworkers’ mental health. Specifically, this review focuses on the prevalence rates of anxiety and depression, as well as the role of sociocultural and demographic variables in the prevalence of symptomatology for this population. A critical review of the studies’ methodologies and conclusions is presented in order to provide valuable information for health practitioners, public policy makers, and researchers alike who work with this population. Overall, approximately 25% to 33% of all Mexican migrant farmworkers are likely struggling with mental health concerns. Specifically, workers in the Midwest and East Coast endorsed significantly high levels of depression and anxiety symptomatology. The lifetime prevalence rates of depression and anxiety amongst this population were lower than those of non-farmworker Mexican immigrants. Rates of depression and anxiety were increased by specific variables related to social support/social isolation, religion and religiosity, acculturation and acculturative stress, psychological ambivalence and perceived control about being a migrant farmworker, and living and working conditions. Mexican migrant farmworkers are a population in need. Attention to variables associated with migrant farmworkers’ living and working conditions can have a positive effect in reducing symptoms. This review highlights the needs of this community and signals a call to action for individuals who provide services to Mexican migrant farmworkers living in the United States.


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