Handbook of Mental Health and Aging (Third Edition) - Chapter 3: Culture and ethnicity in the mental health of older adults

Elsevier, Handbook of Mental Health and Aging (Third Edition), April 2020, Pages 23-36
Lucas Torres, Claire Bird, Felicia Mata-Greve

The older adult population has seen marked demographic changes with racial and ethnic minority individuals constituting the fastest-growing segment within this group. Mental health difficulties are an area of concern among the older adult population with significant disparities noted across ethnic groups. The purpose of the current chapter is to provide an overview of the mechanisms and factors likely to influence mental health and access to care of ethnic minority older adults. First, cultural factors, namely racial/ethnic discrimination, cultural adaptation, and religion/spirituality, will be discussed in relation to mental health and cognition. Second, the chapter will review access and barriers to mental health care, specifically attitudes toward treatment, mental health stigma, cultural mistrust, and structural inequities. These topic areas are not intended to be exhaustive but instead provide an overview of key experiences and systems that are associated with the mental health of ethnic minority older adults.