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bECA, Epidemiology Catchment Area; NCS, National Comorbidity Study; WANAHS, Washington Needs Assessment Household Survey.

bECA, Epidemiology Catchment Area; NCS, National Comorbidity Study; WANAHS, Washington Needs Assessment Household Survey.

Table III presents a comparison of 1-year prevalence rates of disorder between the ECA, NCS, and WANAHS surveys for each of five ethnic classifications. The table is adapted from a presentation by Holzer, Kabel, Nguyen, and Nordlund (1998). The datasets for the ECA and NCS are available publicly and have been incorporated into the following analyses. The summary variable includes all the disorders assessed in WANAHS and disorders selected from the ECA and NCS to approximate that summary. The variable for depression is DSM-III or DSM-III-R major depressive episode from each survey. For WANAHS, the scoring omits one low prevalence symptom. Further, one must be cautioned that the denominators for Asian and Native American are small in the ECA and NCS, but are presented for the purpose of comparison.

Examination of Table III reveals many inconsistencies among the surveys, both for the larger ethnic groups and the smaller ones. For the summary variable and for depression, the NCS usually has the highest rates. WANAHS generally has intermediate rates, and the ECA has the lowest rates. In the ethnic comparisons for the summary of disorder, the ECA shows higher rates for Black than White respondents, whereas both the NCS and WANAHS show the reverse. For Hispanic respondents, rates in WANAHS are lower than for Whites, as is seen in the ECA, but are substantially higher in the NCS. Interestingly, the Hispanics in the ECA and WANAHS are mostly Mexican American, whereas the NCS also includes other Hispanic groups. The summary rates of disorder are lower for Asians in all three studies than for other groups. This is expected from the literature. It should be noted that through the use of telephone methods that permitted callbacks in a variety of Asian languages, the WANAHS was able to interview large numbers of Asians who did not speak English and thus would have been excluded from other studies. The summary rates of any disorder for Native Americans are also interesting because they are substantially higher than for Whites, Asians, and Hispanics in the ECA, and are higher than any other group in the WANAHS, but were substantially lower than Hispanics and slightly lower than Whites in the NCS survey.

The prevalence rates for depression are more consistent than those for any disorder. In all three surveys, lower prevalence of depression was found for Blacks than Whites, and Asians were even lower than Blacks. Rates for Hispanics were higher than for Whites in the ECA and NCS, but about the same as for Blacks in the WANAHS. Native Americans had low rates of depression in the ECA, were about the same as Blacks in the NCS, and had the highest rates in the WANAHS. The high rate of depression for Native Americans in the WA.NAHS is of concern because it is based on a large sample size and is in a state where there has been ongoing tension around issues such as fishing rights for Native Americans.

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