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Am J Public Health. 2009 Dec;99(12):2167-75. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.158956. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Toward a dynamic conceptualization of social ties and context: implications for understanding immigrant and Latino health.

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Latina/Latino Studies Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 510 E Chalmers St MC-495, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.


Researchers have posited that social ties and social support may contribute to better-than-expected health outcomes among Mexican immigrants vis-à-vis their US-born counterparts. However, in our review of studies examining social ties and health by immigration-related variables among this group, we found little support for this hypothesis. To better understand the social factors that contribute to the health of Mexicans in the United States, we conducted a qualitative analysis of social relationships and social context among first- and second-generation Mexican women. Our results highlight the interplay between immigration processes and social ties, draw attention to the importance of identity support and transnational social relationships, and suggest ways to reconceptualize the relationship between social contexts, social ties, and immigrant and Latino health.

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