Online Program

Relationship of religious involvement, mental health, and chronic disease among Latino immigrants

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ephraim Shapiro, PHD, MPA, MBA, Health Sciences, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel
Introduction: Social and psychological stressors can affect body as well as mind, in particular chronic diseases, a growing concern for immigrants who face unique stresses from immigration and acculturation. Further, religious communities play an important role in protecting immigrant rights in many ares of their lives, including physical and mental health. However, inadequate research exists about the connection between religiosity, mental health and chronic diseases among Latinos and other immigrants. Objectives: (1) Describe the incidence of chronic diseases, depression, and health behavior issues among Latino immigrants. (2) Analyze the relationship of religious involvement, measured by church attendance, and chronic disease outcomes for this population. (3) Determine whether mental health explains any relationships found between these religious involvement and chronic disease. Methods/Results: Immigrants from Mexico and Central America were surveyed as part of the random-sample New Immigrant Survey. Multivariate analyses were performed using church attendance, as well as extensive immigrant and other demographic variables. Outcome measures included incidence of individual chronic diseases as well as an overall chronic disease index. Mediator analyses were performed using mental health problem incidence. Results: Over 1500 adult Christian immigrants from this region participated in the survey. Mulitvariate analysis results for associations found between religious involvement and chronic disease outcome measures will be discussed. Despite relatively low incidence, mental health issues explain part although not all associations found between religion and chronic disease. Conclusion: Opportunities may exist to leverage social resources to improve mental health and reduce chronic disease burden for immigrants, thereby reducing health inequalities.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe chronic disease and mental health prevalence among Latino immigrants. Discuss the relationship between religiosity, depression and chronic disease among Latino immigrants Examine the implications of these findings for preventing chronic disease among Latino immigrants.

Keyword(s): Immigrants, Religion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have substantial training and experience in immigrant health, especially the relationship of religion to it and have lectured and written extensively on this
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.