Depression in the Barrio: Risk and Protective Factors for Depression among Mexican American Drug Users


Understanding the relationship between depression and drug use is essential given that drug users with depression are more likely to engage in high risk drug use behaviors. The current study aimed to explore the risk or protective relationship of the cultural values of familismo, personalismo, fatalismo, and machismo and depression among Mexican American heroin injecting men. Furthermore, this research aimed to explore the relationship between chronic neighborhood stress, acute stress, and depression among the aforementioned population. This work aimed to identify strengths clinicians may utilize when working with this population while simultaneously identify risks ripe for clinical intervention. Data for the current analysis comes from a study of Mexican-American injection heroin users. A cross-sectional research design and field intensive outreach methodology was utilized to recruit 227 Mexican-American men. Participants who met the criteria for depression (CESD) were categorized into depressed and non-depressed groups. Selected covariates associated with the dependent variable were examined using logistic regression. Findings suggest that respondents with high familismo and fatalismo scores were less likely to score high for depressive symptomatology. Additionally, findings revealed that chronic stress was a risk factor for depressive symptomatology while acute stress was protective. The results begin to elucidate the protective and risk nature of culture and community for depression among a group of Mexican American heroin injectors residing in the Barrio.



Depression, Injection drug use, Mexican Americans, Culture, Stress