Ataques de nervios and their psychiatric correlates in puerto rican children from two different contexts

Irene López, Fernando Rivera, Rafael Ramirez, Peter Guarnaccia, Glorisa Canino, Héctor R. Bird

Publication Date: 12/01/2009

Among Latino adults and children, ataques de nervios has been associated with an array of psychiatric disorders. Using data from a probability sample of Puerto Rican children, aged 5 to 13 years (N = 2491), we assessed the lifetime prevalence and psychiatric correlates of ataques in youth residing in the South Bronx, New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Baseline site comparisons indicated that between 4% and 5% of children had a lifetime prevalence of ataques (either by child or parent report) and that ataques were associated with greater global impairment and a host of childhood disorders within the previous twelve months. Ataques were also correlated with greater exposure to violence, as well as more stressful life events for the South Bronx sample. After controlling for several covariates, ataques continued to be significantly associated with psychopathology. Ataques are, therefore, a significant correlate of global impairment and childhood psychopathology among Puerto Rican youth.