Online Program

Transnational health information networks: The case of Mexico and the US

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 12:56 p.m. - 1:09 p.m.

Anisha Gandhi, PhD, MPH, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY
Heather Edelblute, MPH, PhD candidate, Carolina Population Center, Department of Social Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cary, NC
Ted Mouw, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Sergio Chavez, PhD, Department of Sociology, Rice University, Houston, TX
Considerable research has highlighted transnational influence on the health of populations impacted by international migration. Still, little is known about the way health information is disseminated within the social networks of residents of Mexican communities with high rates of out-migration to the US. The objective of this study was to describe the frequency and flow of health-related communication within the social networks of Mexican women, and the socio-demographic and network-based correlates of communicating about health topics. We analyzed ego-centric network data from a random sample of 343 who were interviewed as part of the 2013 Social Networks and Health Information Survey, which was conducted in a municipality in Guanajuato, Mexico selected for its high rates of US-bound migration. The mean age of participants was 31.6 years, and 68% self-reported being poor or working class. Seventy percent of women had at least one migrant within their social network. Women had an average of 5.1 local social ties and 1.8 cross-border ties in the US. Women in the sample indicated that they had exchanged health information with 375 social ties in Mexico and the U.S in the preceding 12 months. The most common health topics discussed were gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, and diabetes. Health information was significantly more likely to be exchanged within local ties than cross-border ties (14% vs. 3%, p<0.01), with other women compared to men (16% vs. 6%, p<0.01), and with immediate family members compared to extended family or friends (17% vs. 6%, p<0.01). However, respondents were more likely to have complete confidence in the health information or advice given by cross-border alters compared to local alters (86% vs. 69%, p=0.10). These findings suggest that the influence of transnational migrant networks on health communication may be attenuated by a lower frequency of these dialogues with cross-border contacts.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the frequency and correlates of health-related communications within local and transnational social networks of women living in a migrant sending community in Mexico

Keyword(s): Network Analysis, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an epidemiologist and have worked on multiple previous projects conducting quantitative research related to the social network correlates of health information and health behaviors among Mesoamerican populations and Latino populations in the US. My dissertation research and several other studies I have led have focused on the influence of migration in the Americas and health knowledge, behaviors, and outcomes.
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.