A qualitative study of Mexican American adolescents and depression

Laura B. Fornos, Virginia Seguin Mika, Bryan Bayles, Alberto C. Serrano, Roberto L. Jimenez, Roberto Villarreal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Depressive disorders are present in a high percentage of Mexican American adolescents. Among the US Mexican American population, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 10- to 19-year-olds. Little research, however, has focused on Mexican American adolescents' knowledge and views about depression and seeking help for depression. Results from a qualitative study on Mexican American adolescents' attitudes about depression are investigated in this paper. Sixty-five high school and middle school students in a largely Mexican American, urban school district in San Antonio, Tex, participated in 9 semistructured, focus group interviews where participants were asked questions to elicit their understanding of depression, treatment for depression, and words used to describe it. Coding of salient words and themes from transcribed interviews were entered into Atlas.ti for qualitative analysis. Three themes emerged: (1) adolescents' definitions of depression, (2) beliefs about adolescent depression, and (3) treatment for adolescent depression. While depressive symptoms among Mexican American adolescents are common and recognized, resource and treatment knowledge is scarce. An understanding of the beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge of these adolescents can provide crucial information about the content and structure of a universal, school-based, peer-facilitated depression awareness program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'A qualitative study of Mexican American adolescents and depression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this