CU Population Center

Institute of Behavioral Science

Mental health phenotypes shaped by trauma exposure, symptom severity, and individual characteristics among recent Latinx immigrant adults

Principal Investigator: Laura Vargas

Funder: NIHMD (5K01MD015768)

Exposure to violence and trauma in Latin America significantly contributes to migration to the U.S., bringing attention to the mental health consequences of forced migration at the U.S./Mexico border. Traumatic events occur at every stage of migration and negatively impact mental health. Evidence suggests that Latinx immigrants in the U.S. enjoy an initial health advantage that erodes over time spent in the country as immigrants experience discrimination and are less likely to seek health and mental health care. Also, this health advantage comes into question when analyzed by sub-groups. Insufficient evidence exists of the intersection of trauma exposure, individual characteristics, and mental health outcomes of depression, anxiety, and PTSD among recent Latinx immigrant adults. This study uses a cross-sectional design and mixed-methods to examine mental health among recently arrived Latinx immigrant adults through the development of mental health phenotypes shaped by the intersection of trauma exposure, symptom severity (of depression, anxiety and PTSD), and individual characteristics. This study is developing mental health phenotypes in this population to develop longitudinal studies on the evolving mental health of immigrants and inform the development and delivery of appropriate interventions for the right person at the right time.