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Ethn Health. 2010 Aug;15(4):377-96. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2010.481329.

Maternal and infant health of Mexican immigrants in the USA: the effects of acculturation, duration, and selective return migration.

Author information

1
Department of Sociology, Institute for Ethnic Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA. mceballos2@unl.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A significant body of research on minority health shows that while Hispanic immigrants experience unexpectedly favorable outcomes in maternal and infant health, their advantage deteriorates with increased time of residence in the USA. This is referred to as the 'acculturation paradox.'

OBJECTIVE:

We assess the 'acculturation paradox' hypothesis that attributes this deterioration in birth and child health outcomes to negative effects of acculturation and behavioral adjustments made by immigrants while living in the USA, and investigate the potential for the existence of a selective return migration.

DESIGN:

We use a sample of Mexican immigrant women living in two Midwestern communities in the USA to analyze the effects of immigrant duration and acculturation on birth outcomes once controlling for social, behavioral, and environmental determinants of health status. These results are verified by conducting a similar analysis with a nationally representative sample of Mexican immigrants.

RESULTS:

We find duration of residence to have a significant and nonlinear relationship with birth outcomes and acculturation to not be statistically significant. The effect of mediators is minimal.

CONCLUSION:

The analyses of birth outcomes of Mexican immigrant women shows little evidence of an acculturation effect and indirectly suggest the existence of a selective return migration mechanism.

PMID:
20509058
PMCID:
PMC2951882
DOI:
10.1080/13557858.2010.481329
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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