Antidepressant Adherence among Latinos: The Role of the Family

Igda Martinez, Alejandro Interian, Peter Guarnaccia

Publication Date: 01/01/2013

Familismo (familism) has been introduced in various ways in Latino mental health. For people with mental illnesses such as depression, familism can create pressures that are treatment discouraging. This article presents the results of a multiphase study aimed to increase antidepressant adherence among Latinos. The data presented came from Phase 1 and describe an analysis of familism broadly defined from the transcripts across six focus groups with 30 participants. Data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Familismo was defined as the general tendency to value family unity, which can take precedence over individual needs. Family influence presented a broader category to include any reference to family and generally included instrumental support. Familismo was brought up by 73% of participants; family influence was brought up by 80% of participants. Familismo can lead to patients covering up their symptoms or their illness severity to protect their family and not burden them. We concluded that familismo and family influence can become treatment supportive or treatment discouraging influences on Latinos with depression. Results expand the understanding and concept of familismo among Latinos.