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Mora to examine mental health among elderly Latinos

Pablo Mora
Pablo Mora

Pablo Mora, assistant professor of psychology, has been awarded funding from the Austin-based Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to study how Latinos’ cultural views affect their decision to seek mental health services and contribute to mental health disparities for Latinos.

His proposal was selected from a pool of 48 applicants from 17 universities across Texas. The foundation awarded one-year grants to 13 tenure-track assistant professors exploring different aspects of mental health in Texas.

According to Mora, disadvantaged minorities, especially Latinos, have poorer physical and mental health than their majority European-American counterparts. Cultural differences in how elderly Latinos express physical or mental health symptoms can affect diagnosis and treatment and may be an underlying factor in these health disparities.

“My project will help increase our understanding about how Latinos view mental illness and how these beliefs influence their decisions to seek care,” Mora said. “This knowledge will improve our ability to develop culturally competent practices that can reduce mental health disparities that negatively affect Latinos.” Mora plans to survey 140 Latinos aged 55 or older about their attitudes and beliefs toward depression and their own mental health.

“This is significant information needed by all providers to ensure positive health outcomes and helps to address mental health disparities, especially within the context of demographic changes affecting Texas and the nation at large,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., the foundation’s executive director.

The Hogg Foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James S. Hogg, and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research, and public education. Learn more about the Hogg Foundation here.