Cultures of Care: Exploring Inequalities in Mental Health Services Among Mexican American Youth

How can clinical practices in mental health settings be improved to mitigate cultural bias and improve well-being among Mexican American adolescents?

This study will fill a crucial gap in knowledge about how ethnicity and culture affect the quality of mental health services that youth receive, and how the quality of care affects patient engagement and clinical outcomes. The team will work with clinicians, youth patients, and parents to determine key methods and content for adapting clinical practices to improve the quality of care for Mexican American youth. In doing so, they will explore whether clinicians and their models and practices of care may have implicit cultural and ethnic biases that can affect the quality of treatment received by youth. The team’s mixed methods approach will include interviews that explore the youth’s experiences inside and outside the clinic, and what they believe to be important vis a vis culture, ethnicity, and their development. The sample will include 100 youth patients, ages 12 to 18, who self-identify as Mexican American and are in treatment at an outpatient psychiatry clinic in Chicago that does not offer specialized therapy for Mexican Americans. Their parents and ten clinicians will also be studied. To evaluate the quality of care received by youth, the team will draw on electronic medical records documenting sessions attended and length of treatment, as well as youth satisfaction with and relationship to therapist. The third outcome will be how youth respond to treatment, which will be measured by youth, parents’, and clinicians’ evaluations of youth well-being since starting therapy.

Subscribe for Updates