265882 Wellness of Asian and Latino adults in the U.S.: Using the NLAAS to explore the “immigrant paradox”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Diana Ray-Letourneau, MSW, PhD Student , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Ascertainment of the causes of disparities in health among ethnic minorities has been elusive and complex. In the past, we have not had the opportunity to examine these issues because data were not available to empirically study the complex contributors to health and wellness among heterogeneous minority populations. The “immigrant paradox” – which posits that being foreign-born is protective against poor health status – has been observed among some ethnic minority populations. However, the mechanisms that explain this phenomenon are still largely unknown. This study contributes to the literature on minority health and the “immigrant paradox” among foreign-born adults. Specifically, this study examines the extent to which stress, family cohesion, and ethnic identity are associated with functional impairment among Latino and Asian American adults (LAAAs). Data from the National Latino and Asian American Survey (NLAAS) and multiple regression analysis were used to examine these relationships. Functional Impairment was measured by the WHO-DAS II. Risk factors included Discrimination, Financial Strain, Acculturative Stress and protective factors included Family Cohesion and Ethnic Identity. Several sociodemographic characteristics were also measured, including age, gender, education, employment, English proficiency, and length of residency in the U.S. Consistent with the immigrant paradox, U.S.-born respondents had higher rates of functional impairment than foreign-born LAAAs. Findings also identified discrimination as a risk factor for impairment among U.S.- and foreign-born LAAAs; however, acculturative stress was a risk factor for impairment among foreign-born respondents. Results suggest that nativity and stress exposure help explain variability in LAAA health outcomes.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify demographic, social, and stress-related contributors to functional impairment in Latino and Asian American populations, to better understand the confluence of factors that put one at risk of impairment. 2) Describe how the contribution of variables is different for foreign-born adults and how this might result in heterogeneity even within the “immigrant paradox” phenomenon. 3) Discuss the relation of these results to social work and public health practice; for instance, developing programs that help immigrants adapt to and live in U.S. society in ways that are more comfortable and amenable to them, with the ultimate goal of maintaining the superior health status they arrived with and increasing their overall wellbeing throughout the lifespan.

Keywords: Minority Health, Minority Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have written multiple papers on Asian and Latino adults, most of which have utilized the NLAAS dataset which I use in this analysis as well. I have worked with immigrant and other minority clients in both clinical and research contexts over the past decade and my scientific interests revolve largely around improving physical and mental health outcomes as well as overall wellness in immigrant communities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 5101.0: Immigrant health