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Life events trajectories, allostatic load, and the moderating role of age at arrival from Puerto Rico to the US mainland

Author

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  • Arévalo, Sandra P.
  • Tucker, Katherine L.
  • Falcón, Luis M.

Abstract

Our aim was to examine the effects of trajectories of stressful life events on allostatic load, measured over a two year time period, and to investigate the roles of language acculturation and age at migration in this association, in a sample of Puerto Rican migrants. We used data from the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study; a population-based prospective cohort of older Puerto Ricans recruited between the ages of 45 and 75 years. The Institutional Review Boards at Tufts Medical Center and Northeastern University approved the study. We used latent growth mixture modeling (LGMM) to identify different classes of two-year trajectories of stressful life events; analysis of variance to examine group differences by stress trajectory; and linear regression to test for the modifying effects of age at arrival on the association of stress trajectory with allostatic load at follow-up. In LGMM analysis, we identified three distinct stress trajectories; low, moderate ascending, and high. Unexpectedly, participants in the low stress group had the highest allostatic load at follow-up (F = 4.4, p = 0.01) relative to the other two groups. Age at arrival had a statistically significant moderating effect on the association. A reported two year period of moderate but repetitive and increasingly bad life events was associated with increases in allostatic load for participants who arrived to the U.S. mainland after the age of 5 years, and was particularly strong for those arriving between 6 and 11 years, but not for those arriving earlier or later. Results from this study highlight the complex effects of stress during the life course, and point to certain vulnerable periods for immigrant children that could modify long term effects of stress.

Suggested Citation

  • Arévalo, Sandra P. & Tucker, Katherine L. & Falcón, Luis M., 2014. "Life events trajectories, allostatic load, and the moderating role of age at arrival from Puerto Rico to the US mainland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 301-310.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:120:y:2014:i:c:p:301-310
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.09.040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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