At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Includes data on eating disorders, chronic conditions related to obesity, perception of weight, weight loss, sleep habits, and dieting and diet-counseling history.
  • Is one of the most comprehensive studies of Latinos and Asian Americans ever conducted.
  • Includes data on social position, environmental context, and psychosocial factors related to psychiatric disorders and use of mental health services.
  • Has been linked to similar surveys of mental health in nationally representative samples of African American and Afro-Caribbean populations; similar to the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) and National Comorbity Survey – Replication (NCS-R).



To collect data about mental illness and service use among Latinos and Asian American individuals in the United States (U.S.).

Target Population

Civilian, noninstitutionalized individuals of Latino, Hispanic, Spanish, or Asian descent, adults ages 18 years or older, residing in the U.S.


Conducted in 2003. One-time survey.


National Institute of Mental Health and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services, DHHS.

Conducted by the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research in the Cambridge Health Alliance.

Special Note(s)

NLAAS is part of the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Surveys (CPES). CPES is conducting NLAAS II, a follow-up a 3-year collaborative analysis using data collected from the NLAAS. NLAAS II seeks to identify and investigate the risk of psychiatric illness and mental health service disparities among Asian Americans and Latinos as compared to non-Latino Whites and African Americans.


Sample Design

Cross-sectional multi-stage area probability sample. Learn more.

Sample Size

2,554 Latino, 2,095 Asian American, and 215 non-Latino white respondents in 2002-2003.

Special Note(s)

To allow for important subgroup analysis, respondents were further stratified into the following ethnic subgroup categories: Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican, Other Latinos, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Other Asians. The NLAAS instrument was administered in the respondent’s choice of the following languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Tagalog by fully bilingual lay interviewers. Investigators can conduct pooled and separate analyses by subpopulations.

Key Variables


NameMethods of Assessment
Country of OriginInterview/questionnaire
Disability (cognitive; equipment use; general; hearing; vision)Interview/questionnaire
Highest grade of school/college completedInterview/questionnaire
Marital statusInterview/questionnaire
Number of children in householdInterview/questionnaire


NameMethods of Assessment
Eating disordersInterview/questionnaire
History of dietingInterview/questionnaire
History of diet-related counselingInterview/questionnaire

Physical Activity-Related

NameMethods of Assessment
History of physical activity for weight lossInterview/questionnaire


NameMethods of Assessment
Sleep Duration and QuantityInterview/questionnaire
Sleep continuity: Average wake bout lengthInterview/questionnaire
Sleep continuity: Sleep latencyInterview/questionnaire
Sleep disturbances and quality: Trouble falling back asleep at nightInterview/questionnaire
Sleep disturbances and quality: Waking up too earlyInterview/questionnaire
Sleep timing and regularity: Other (change in sleep)Interview/questionnaire
Sleep duration and quantity: Other (change in sleep)Interview/questionnaire
Sleep-related substance use: Medication useInterview/questionnaire
Sleep-related substance use: Use of sleep aidsInterview/questionnaire
Daytime fatigue/sleepiness and/or alertnessInterview/questionnaire
Sleep duration and quantity: Total sleep timeInterview/questionnaire


NameMethods of Assessment
Height, weightSelf report
Weight historyInterview/questionnaire
Perception of weightInterview/questionnaire
Treatment historyInterview/questionnaire


NameMethods of Assessment


NameMethods of Assessment
Chronic conditions related to obesityInterview/questionnaire
Family cohesionInterview/questionnaire
Physical and mental health ratingInterview/questionnaire
Use of mental health servicesInterview/questionnaire

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Obtain data from ICPSR.




Geocode Variable(s)

None noted.

Existing Linkages

NLAAS data on individuals have been linked to psychiatric disorder prevalence and use of mental health services data in the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) and National Comorbity Survey – Replication (NCS-R), which are nationally representative samples of African Americans and non-Latino whites, respectively.

Selected Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.


Gee GC, Ro A, Gavin A, Takeuchi D. Disentangling the effects of racial and weight discrimination on body mass index and obesity among Asian Americans. American Journal of Public Health 2008;98(3):493-500.

Marques L, Alegria M, Becker A, Chen C, Fang A, Chosak A, Belo Diniz J. Comparative prevalence, correlates of impairment, and service utilization for eating disorders across U.S. ethnic groups: Implications for reducing ethnic disparities in health care access for eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders 2011;44(5):412-420.

Whisman MA, Dementyeva A, Baucom DH, Bulik CM. Marital functioning and binge eating disorder in married women. International Journal of Eating Disorders 2011;May 10. DOI:10.1002/eat.20935 [Epub ahead of print].


Heeringa SG, Wagner J, Torres M, Duan N, Adams T, Berglund P. Sample designs and sampling methods for the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies (CPES). International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 2004;13(4):221-240.



Study Design and Methodology Materials:

Training Videos and Presentations:

Variable Search:


Questionnaire Forms: