Abstract

The importance of understanding specific methods and strategies for conducting mental retardation research in Latino communities is discussed. Research methods used in the recruitment and analysis of a sample of 72 Puerto Rican mothers of a son or daughter with mental retardation are described. The emphasis is on the importance of involving the community in many aspects of the study in order to (a) ensure that the community benefits, (b) strengthen the scientific integrity of the study, and (c) facilitate sample recruitment.

This article is a revised version of a paper presented at the 1997 annual meeting of the American Association on Mental Retardation, in New York as part of the symposium Multicultural Interpretations of Mental Retardation in Asian, Latino, and African American Communities: A Multiplicity of Perspectives, chaired by Jeannette Rogers-Dulan. Support for the preparation of this manuscript was provided by Grants No. R01 AGO8768 from the National Institute on Aging, T32 HD 07194 and T32 HD07489 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the Merck Scholars II Program. Support was also provided by the Starr Center for Mental Retardation, Heller Graduate School, Brandeis University, and the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Marsha Mailick Seltzer, Marty Wyngaarden Krauss, and Cynthia García Coll, who provided guidance in the research and feedback on drafts of the manuscript. I also thank Maria Cancian for providing feedback on the manuscript.

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