Lifetime history of traumatic events in a young adult Mexican American sample: Relation to substance dependence, affective disorder, acculturation stress, and PTSD

Cindy L. Ehlers, Corinne Kim, David A. Gilder, Gina M. Stouffer, Raul Caetano, Rachel Yehuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mexican Americans comprise one of the most rapidly growing populations in the United States, and within this population, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are associated with physical and mental health problems. Therefore, efforts to delineate factors that may uniquely contribute to increased likelihood of trauma, PTSD, and substance use disorders over the lifetime in Mexican Americans are important to address health disparities and to develop treatment and prevention programs. Six hundred fourteen young adults (age 18–30 yrs) of Mexican American heritage, largely second generation, were recruited from the community and assessed with the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism and an acculturation stress scale. More males (51.2%) reported experiencing traumas than females (41.1%), however, a larger proportion of females received a PTSD diagnosis (15%) than males (8%). Alcohol dependence and affective disorders, but not anxiety disorders, antisocial disorders, nicotine, marijuana, or stimulant dependence, were significantly comorbid with PTSD. Endorsing higher levels of acculturation stress was also significantly associated with both trauma exposure and a diagnosis of PTSD. Logistic regression revealed that female gender, having an affective disorder, alcohol dependence, higher levels of acculturation stress, and lower levels of education were all predictors of PTSD status. Additionally, alcohol dependence generally occurred after the PTSD diagnosis in early adulthood in this high-risk population. These studies suggest that treatment and prevention efforts should particularly focus on young adult second generation Mexican American women with higher levels of acculturation stress, who may be at higher risk for PTSD, affective disorder, and alcohol dependence following trauma exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume83
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Mexican American
  • PTSD
  • Substance dependence
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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