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Mental Health

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Why study Mental Health?

Much of what we know about mental health and mental illness comes from epidemiological studies that seek to identify the rates of mental disorders such as Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Schizophrenia, to name just a few. These illnesses affect tens of millions of people but only a fraction of these receive treatment.

El Centro focuses on mental health issues as they pertain to co-occurring with other health conditions that we study: HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), substance abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV). Co-occurring mental health problems are important to consider and treat because they can increase a person’s risk for or magnify the effects of substance abuse, HIV infection and IPV. Co-occurring mental health conditions can also affect how someone responds to and follows recommended treatment.

What are we doing at El Centro to help prevent mental health issues in racial, ethnic and sexual minority groups?

El Centro supports innovative treatment research on such symptoms as depression and anxiety.  These symptoms may be reported as the primary presenting complaints in some individuals or have been identified as co-occurring with HIV/AIDS and other STIs, Intimate Partner Violence, and Substance Abuse in other individuals.


El Centro Studies Related to Mental Health:

"CIFFTA-Prevention: Culturally Informed, Flexible Family Therapy for Adolescents”, Daniel Santisteban, PhD, PI

"CIFFTA-Tele: Culturally Informed, Flexible Family Therapy for Adolescents”, Daniel Santisteban, PhD, PI

"CIFFTA-Treatment: Culturally Informed, Flexible Family Therapy for Adolescents”, Daniel Santisteban, PhD, PI

"The Influence of Cultural Factors on High Risk Sexual Behaviors of Hispanic Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)”, Joseph De Santis, PhD, PI

"Sexual Decision Making among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)”, Joseph De Santis, PhD, PI

"Health Risks of Transgender Women”, Joseph De Santis, PhD, PI

"Young Adults’ Experiences of Living with Perinatally-Acquired HIV Infection”, Joseph De Santis, PhD, PI

"Increasing Capacity at Hospital Universitaire Justinien” , Nilda Peragallo, DrPH, PI

"Testing an HIV/AIDS Prevention Intervention for Chilean Women”, Rosina Cianelli, PhD, PI

"SET-Recovery / Healthy Home”, Victoria Mitrani, PhD, PI

"Family Therapy Mechanisms in HIV+ Women in Drug Recovery”, Victoria Mitrani, PhD, PI

"Project VIDA: Violence, Intimate Relationships, and Drugs among Latinos,” Elias Vasquez, PhD, PI

"NIDA Diversity Supplement”, Daniel Santisteben, PhD, PI

"Assessing the Psychiatric Mental Health Needs of Youth Involved in the Juvenile Addiction Receiving Facility”, Anthony James Roberson, PhD, PI

El Centro Publications Related to Mental Health:

Vasquez, E. P., Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., & De Santis, J. (2011). Acculturation, depression, self-esteem, and substance abuse among Hispanic men. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 32(2), 90-97 PMCID: PMC3182478

Villegas, N., Cianelli, R., Gonzalez-Guarda, R., Kaelber, L., Ferrer, L., & Peragallo, N. (2012). Predictors of self-efficacy for HIV Prevention among Hispanic women in south Florida. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care PMCID: PMC3474856

Brincks, A. M., Feaster, D. J., & Mitrani, V. B. (2010). A multilevel mediation model of stress and coping for women with HIV and their families. Family Process, 49(4), 517-529.

Burns, M.J., Feaster, D.J., Mitrani, V.B., Ow, C., Szapocznik, J. (2008).  Stress processes in HIV+ African American mothers: Moderating effects of drug abuse history. Anxiety, Stress and Coping: An International Journal. 21(1), 95-116. PMCID: PMC2474797.

Cianelli, R., Wilkinson, C., Mitchell, E., Anglade, D., Nicolas, G., Mitrani, V., Peragallo, N. (in press). Mental health training experiences among Haitian healthcare workers post-earthquake. International Nursing Review.

Cianelli, R., Lara, L., Villegas, N., Bernales, M., Ferrer, L., Kaelber, L., et al. (2012). Impact of mano a mano-mujer, an HIV prevention intervention, on depressive symptoms among Chilean women. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, PMCID: PMC3401514

De Santis, J. P., DeLeon, D. A. (2013). Clients' perspectives of the relationship of vulnerability and resilience in the context of HIV infection. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 34, 300-308. PMCID: PMC3897227

De Santis, J. P., Florom-Smith, A., Vermeesch, A., Barroso, S., DeLeon, D.A. (2013). Motivation, management, and mastery: A theory of resilience in the context of HIV infection. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 19(1), 36-46. PMCID: PMC3773721

De Santis, J., Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., & Vasquez, E. P. (2012). Psychosocial and cultural correlates of depression among Hispanic men with HIV infection: A pilot study. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. PMCID: PMC3345319

De Santis, J., & Barroso, S. (2011). Living in silence: A grounded theory study of vulnerability in the context of HIV infection. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 32(6), 345-354. doi:10.3109/01612840.2010.550018

De Santis, J., & Vasquez, E. P. (2011). A pilot study to evaluate ethnic/racial differences in depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and sexual behaviors among men who have sex with men. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 23(2), 147-164.

De Santis, J.P., Vasquez, E.P., Weidel, J.J., Watson, S., & Sanchez, M. (2009). A comparison of depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and sexual behaviors between foreign-born and US-born Hispanic men who have sex with men: Implications for HIV prevention. Hispanic Health Care International, 7(2), 80-87.

Feaster, D. J., Mitrani, V. B., Burns, M. J., McCabe, B. E., Brincks, A. M., Rodriguez, A. E., et al. (2010). A randomized controlled trial of structural ecosystems therapy for HIV medication adherence and substance abuse relapse prevention. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 111(3), 227-234. PMCID: PMC2950218

Florom-Smith, A. L., De Santis, J. P. (2012). Exploring the concept of HIV-related stigma. Nursing Forum, 47(3), 153-165.

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., McCabe, B. E., Vermeesch, A. l., Cianelli, R., Peragallo-Montano, N., Florom-Smith, A.L. (2013). Cultural phenomena and the syndemic factor: Substance abuse, violence, HIV and depression among Hispanic women. Annals of Anthropological Practice, 36 (2), 212-231.

Gonzalez-Guarda, R.M., De Santis, J. & Vasquez, E. (2013). Sexual orientation and demographic, cultural and psychological factors associated with the perpetration and victimization of intimate partner violence among Hispanic men. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 34(2), 103-109. PMCID: PMC3563281

Gonzalez-Guarda, R.M., Vermeesch, A., Florom-Smith, A., McCabe, B. & Peragallo, N. (2013). Birthplace, culture, self-esteem and intimate partner violence among community dwelling Hispanic women. Violence Against Women, 19(1), 6-23. PMCID: PMC3584196

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., McCabe, B. E., Florom-Smith, A., Cianelli, R., & Peragallo, N. (2011). Substance abuse, violence, HIV, and depression: An underlying syndemic factor among Latinas. Nursing Research, 60(3), 182-189. PMCID: PMC3171180

Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., Florom-Smith, A., & Thomas, T. (2011). A syndemic model of substance abuse, intimate partner violence, HIV infection, and mental health among Hispanics. Public Health Nursing, 28(4), 366-378. PMCID: PMC3137267

Gonzalez-Guarda, R.M. (2009). The Syndemic Orientation: Implications for eliminating Hispanic health disparities. Hispanic Health Care International, 7(3), 114-115.

Gonzalez-Guarda, R.M., Peragallo, N., Urrutia, M.T., Vasquez, E.P., Mitrani, V.B. (2009). Intimate partner violence, depression and resource availability among a community sample of Hispanic women. Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 30(4), 227-236.

Lawson, S. L., Munoz-Rojas, D., Gutman, L. S. (2012). Changing attitudes and perceptions of Hispanic men ages 18 to 25 about rape and rape prevention. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 33(12), 864-870.

McCabe, B. E., Vermeesch, A., Hall, R. F., Peragallo, N., & Mitrani, V. B. (2011). Acculturation and the center for epidemiological studies-depression scale for Hispanic women. Nursing Research, 60(4), 270-275. PMCID: PMC3137136

Mena, M.P., Mitrani,V.B. , Mason,C.A., Muir, J.A., Santisteban, D.A. (2008). Extended parent-child separations: Impact on adolescent functioning and possible gender differences. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing. 13 (1), 50-52.

Mitrani, V. B., McCabe, B. E., Burns, M. J., & Feaster, D. J. (2012). Family mechanisms of structural ecosystems therapy for HIV-seropositive women in drug recovery. Health Psychology, 31(5), 591-600. PMCID: PMC3884197

Mitrani, V. B., Feaster, D. J., Weiss-Laxer, N. S., & McCabe, B. E. (2011). Malaise, motivation and motherhood: Predictors of engagement in behavioral interventions from a randomized controlled trial for HIV+ women in drug abuse recovery. AIDS & Behavior, 15(2), 396-406.PMCID: PMC305134

Mitrani, V. B., McCabe, B. E., Robinson, C., Weiss-Laxer, N. S., & Feaster, D. J. (2010). Structural ecosystems therapy for recovering HIV-positive women: Child, mother, and parenting outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(6), 746-755. PMCID: PMC3051342

Mitrani, V.B., Robinson, C., & Szapocznik, J. (2009). Structural ecosystems therapy (SET) for women with HIV/AIDS. In M. Stanton and J. Bray, Handbook of Family Psychology. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell Publishing, 355-369.

Mitrani, V.B., Santisteban, D.A., & Muir, J.A. (2004) Addressing immigration-related separations in Hispanic families with a behavior-problem adolescent. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74 (3), 219-229.

Mitrani, V.B., & Perez, M. (2003). Structural-strategic approaches to couple and family therapy. In T.L. Sexton, G. Weeks, and M.S. Robbins (Eds.), Handbook of Family Therapy. New York, NY: Brunner Routledge, 177-200.

Szapocznik, J., Feaster, D., Mitrani, V.B., Prado, G., Smith, W., Robinson-Batista, C., Schwartz, S.J., Mauer, M.H. & Robbins, M.S., (2004) Structural ecosystems therapy for HIV-seropositive African-American women: Effects on psychological distress, family hassles, and family support. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72 (2), 288-303. PMCID: PMC1480817.

Nelson, R.H., Mitrani, V.B., & Szapocznik, J. (2000) Applying a family-ecosystemic model to reunite a family separated due to child abuse: A case study. Journal of Contemporary Family Therapy. 22 (2), 125-146.

Robbins, M.S., Mitrani, V.B., Zarate, M., Perez, G.A., Coatsworth, J.D., & Szapocznik (2002) Change processes in family therapy with Hispanic adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 24(4), 505-519.

Santisteban, D.A., Coatsworth, J.D., Briones, E., Kurtines, W., & Szapocznik, J. (2012) Beyond acculturation: An investigation of the relationship of familism and parenting to behavior problems in Hispanic youth. Family Process, 51(4), 470-482. PMCID: PMD3697083

Santisteban, D. A., Mena, M. P., & McCabe, B. E. (2011). Preliminary results for an adaptive family treatment for drug abuse in Hispanic youth. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(4), 610-614. PMCID: PMC3626405

Santisteban, D.A. & Owenz, M.B. (2011) Existing gaps and new directions in the treatment of conduct problems and drug use disorders in Latino adolescents. In N. Cabrera, Natasha, F. Villarruel, & H.E. Fitzgerald (Eds). Child Psychology and Mental Health: Cultural and Ethno-Racial Perspectives: Vol 2: Latina/o American Children’s Mental Health: Prevention and Treatment. ABC-CLIO Inc, Santa Barbara, California.

Santisteban, D.A., & Mena, M.P. (2009). Culturally informed and flexible family therapy for adolescents: A tailored and integrative treatment for Hispanic youth. Family Process, 48(2), 253-268.PMCID:PMC2731703

Santisteban, D. & Mitrani, V.B. (2003). The influence of acculturation processes on the family. In Chun, K.M., Organista, P.B., & Marín, G. (Eds). Acculturation: Advances in Theory, Measurement, and Applied Research. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association Press, 121-136.

Feaster, D. J., Burns, M. J., Brincks, A. M., Prado, G., Mitrani, V. B., Mauer, M. H., et al. (2010). Structural ecosystems therapy for HIV+ African-American women and drug abuse relapse. Family Process, 49(2), 204-219.

Vermeesch, A. L., Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M., Hall, R., McCabe, B. E., Cianelli, R., Peragallo, N. (2013). Predictors of depressive symptoms among Hispanic women in south Florida, Western Journal of Nursing Research, 35(10), 1325-1338. PMCID: PMC3887511

Santisteban, D.A., Mena, M.P., & Abalo, C. (2013). Bridging diversity and family systems: Culturally informed and flexible family treatment for adolescents. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2(4), 246-263. doi: 10.1037cfp0000013.


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