San Marcos

Identifying Mental Health Needs for Farmworker Families

Politics & Social Justice


​Mothers and young children of Mexican farmworker families are particularly vulnerable as they are often living in impoverished conditions and exposed to toxins as well as numerous sociocultural challenges.

With seed money and a community engagement grant from Cal State San Marcos, researchers are examining experiences of acculturation, stress, and maternal depression, along with children's emotional and behavioral difficulties, among farmworker families in North County San Diego County. The research is being conducted with the assistance of local community leaders (promotoras), the university's National Latino Research Center, and North County Health Services.

Under the direction of Dr. Sara Bufferd and Dr. Kimberly D'Anna-Hernandez, assistant professors of psychology, students are gaining valuable research skills through the process of data collection, analysis, and presentation of findings. These findings will provide essential data to North County Health Services, helping to inform prevention and intervention programs, while contributing to the development of maternal and child mental health policies.​

"I believe our work reflects an important and novel effort toward identifying mental health difficulties in this population, many of whom may be suffering in silence," says program director Luzmam Vigil of North County Health Services.