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Soc Biol. 2001 Fall-Winter;48(3-4):171-95.

Disability status differentials across fifteen Asian and Pacific Islander groups and the effect of nativity and duration of residence in the U.S.

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  • 1Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712, USA.


This study examines disparities in disability status across 15 Asian and Pacific Islander American (API) subpopulations and how nativity and duration in the U.S. influence these differences. Employing three disability questions (work limitations, mobility limitations, and self-care limitations) from the 1990 PUMS, the authors find substantial heterogeneity in disability status across API subgroups: while Japanese American adults have the most favorable outcomes, Other Southeast Asian adults (Laotians, Hmong, and Cambodians), followed by Vietnamese and Pacific Islander adults, suffer from a high risk of disabilities. Many of the disparities in disability status across API subpopulation adults are attributable to differentials in demographic characteristics and SES. The inclusion of an interaction term of age and nativity/duration of residence in the U.S. in multivariate regression analyses demonstrates that the effect of nativity/duration plays a different role across age, net of demographic, and SES risk factors. The overall findings are also consistent with previous studies on the relationship between immigrant health and nativity/duration. That is, immigrants with short duration in the U.S. have superior health status, measured by risk of disability, than longer-term immigrants and their U.S.-born counterparts.

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