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Models of acculturation and health behaviors among Latino immigrants to the US


  • Arcia, E.
  • Skinner, M.
  • Bailey, D.
  • Correa, V.


A basic premise of much of the health research conducted with immigrant groups is that culturally based behaviors change over time as a result of acculturation, i.e., interaction with the mainstream US culture. However, models of acculturation have not taken into account how group-specific characteristics and the varying social and political contexts immigrant groups face may impact the acculturation process. In this study of 150 families, we examined the inter-relationship of indicators of acculturation among two Latino groups to discern the impact of gender and country of origin on the relationship between variables. Results indicated that increased years of residence in the United States had the predictable impact of increased competence in English and increased use of English, but had differing impact by country of origin on the cultural orientation of the respondents' environment and on ethnic identification. Also, gender was associated with differing levels of English language use and with perceived social acceptance, such that males used more English and reported less social acceptance than females. Loading separately from the language and cultural behavior variables, this factor, perceived social acceptance, merits research as a predictor of service use given that respondents understood non-acceptance as resulting from being identified as Latino, not from behaving differently from the mainstream. The differing patterns of association by country of origin and by gender and the measurement issues these raise, highlight the importance of specifying more complex models of acculturation than is done typically in research with Latinos.

Suggested Citation

  • Arcia, E. & Skinner, M. & Bailey, D. & Correa, V., 2001. "Models of acculturation and health behaviors among Latino immigrants to the US," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 41-53, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:53:y:2001:i:1:p:41-53

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    Cited by:

    1. Miao Li, 2016. "Pre-migration Trauma and Post-migration Stressors for Asian and Latino American Immigrants: Transnational Stress Proliferation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 47-59, October.
    2. Sudano, Joseph J. & Baker, David W., 2006. "Explaining US racial/ethnic disparities in health declines and mortality in late middle age: The roles of socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and health insurance," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 909-922, February.
    3. repec:pri:crcwel:wp08-15-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bzostek, Sharon & Sastry, Narayan & Goldman, Noreen & Pebley, Anne & Duffy, Denise, 2016. "Using vignettes to rethink Latino-white disparities in self-rated health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 46-65.
    5. Lisa M. Bates & Julien O. Teitler, 2008. "Immigration and low birthweight in the US: The role of time and timing," Working Papers 1085, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    6. Lebrun, Lydie A., 2012. "Effects of length of stay and language proficiency on health care experiences among Immigrants in Canada and the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1062-1072.
    7. Gorman, Bridget K. & Lariscy, Joseph T. & Kaushik, Charisma, 2014. "Gender, acculturation, and smoking behavior among U.S. Asian and Latino immigrants," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 110-118.
    8. Rachel Tolbert Kimbro & Scott M. Lynch & Sara McLanahan, 2004. "The Hispanic Paradox And Breastfeeding: Does Acculturation Matter? Evidence From The Fragile Families Study," Working Papers 949, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    9. Osea Giuntella, 2016. "Assimilation and Health: Evidence From Linked Birth Records of Second- and Third-Generation Hispanics," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 1979-2004, December.
    10. Van Hook, Jennifer & Stamper Balistreri, Kelly, 2007. "Immigrant generation, socioeconomic status, and economic development of countries of origin: A longitudinal study of body mass index among children," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 976-989, September.
    11. Jang, Sou Hyun, 2016. "First-generation Korean immigrants’ barriers to healthcare and their coping strategies in the US," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 93-100.
    12. Viruell-Fuentes, Edna A., 2007. "Beyond acculturation: Immigration, discrimination, and health research among Mexicans in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(7), pages 1524-1535, October.
    13. Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, 2009. "Acculturation in Context: Gender, Age at Migration, Neighborhood Ethnicity, and Health Behaviors," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1145-1166.
    14. Bzostek, Sharon & Goldman, Noreen & Pebley, Anne, 2007. "Why do Hispanics in the USA report poor health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 990-1003, September.
    15. Zsembik, Barbara A. & Fennell, Dana, 2005. "Ethnic variation in health and the determinants of health among Latinos," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 53-63, July.


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