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Sociohistorical determinants of neighborhood factors associated with the health of Filipino Americans

Gilbert C. Gee, PhD1, Juan Chen, MSW2, Sarita See, PhD3, Michael Spencer, MSW, PhD2, and David Takeuchi, PhD4. (1) Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, 1420 Washington Heights, Rm M5224, Ann Arbor, MI 48103, (734) 615-7825, gilgee@umich.edu, (2) University of Michigan School of Social Work, 1080 South University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106, (3) Program in American Culture and English Department, University of Michigan, 435 South State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003, (4) University of Washington, 4101 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105-6299

Research demonstrates that community factors may determine health. However, little is known about the antecedents of these community factors. This study examines the extent to which historical immigration policy has shaped the nature of Filipino American communities and how these, in turn, may be associated with health. The 1965 Immigration Act promoted two major migration streams, one for family reunification and a second for occupational preferences. Filipinos tended to immigrate (at least initially) to Hawaii via the family route and to California via the occupational route.

We hypothesize that these two streams lead to differences in community structure. Specifically, Filipinos in Honolulu may have more extensive social networks, whereas those in San Francisco may have greater economic resources. Further, the proportionally smaller representation of Filipinos in San Francisco predicts greater experiences of racial discrimination and lowered ethnic identity.

We examine data from the Filipino American Community Epidemiological Study, a household survey of 2,200 Filipinos living in Honolulu and San Francisco.

Our preliminary analysis suggests that compared to those in San Francisco, Filipinos living in Honolulu have significantly more extensive social networks, greater emotional social support, lower levels of education and employment, report less racial discrimination and higher levels of ethnic identity. Further, those in Honolulu had lower rates of psychiatric disorders (measured with the SCL90-R). For example, about 3.1% of those in Honolulu reported major depression, compared to 9.2% in San Francisco.

These results provide initial support for our hypotheses. We discuss implications for research and policy.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this session, participants will be able to

Keywords: Asian and Pacific Islander, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Environmental Health Issues: The Physical, Social, and Built Environment

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA