Explaining Chronic Illness and Self-Rated Health Among Immigrants of Five Hispanic Ethnicities

Celia C. Lo, Jessica L. Adame, Tyrone C. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The largest racial/ethnic minority group in the United States, Hispanics, especially Hispanic immigrants, have been considered healthier than groups of other ethnicity (including Whites, the majority). However, chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes are often seen in this culturally, ethnically diverse group. The present study had two aims. First was to explain two health outcomes, which were presence of chronic illness (any of the five common conditions cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer, and/or diabetes/prediabetes) and self-rated health, in terms of links to certain factors in acculturation, social status, health, social support, and lifestyle. Second was to determine how uniform these links might be across five ethnic groups: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central/South American. We combined data from 17 years of the National Health Interview Survey (1999–2015) and subjected these secondary measures to logistic and linear regression, separately by ethnicity, to explain both outcomes. With few exceptions, results generally linked illness/health to the tested independent variables. Additionally, results confirmed ethnicity to moderate the outcomes’ associations with the independent variables. Ethnicity-specific analysis showed the two outcomes to exhibit dissimilar relationships with certain independent variables across ethnic groups. Research that (as has been common) lumps together respondents whose Hispanic ethnicities may differ disregards some meaningful variation rather than accounting for it. In future research—and in subsequent evidence-based policy/practice development—all essential sociocultural factors, including ethnicity, should be carefully outlined, advancing good health for the entire Hispanic immigrant population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-191
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Chronic illness
  • Hispanic ethnicities
  • Immigrants
  • Self-rated health

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