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J Adolesc Health. 2017 May;60(5):513-519. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.10.012. Epub 2016 Dec 14.

Parents' Traditional Cultural Values and Mexican-Origin Young Adults' Routine Health and Dental Care.

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T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennslyvania.
T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.



To investigate the prospective associations between Mexican-origin mothers' and fathers' traditional cultural values and young adults' health and dental care utilization and to test the moderating role of youth gender.


Mexican-origin parents and youth (N = 246 families) participated in home interviews and provided self-reports of parents' cultural values (time 1) and young adults' health status and routine health and dental care (time 2; 5 years later). Logistic regressions tested parents' traditional cultural values as predictors of routine health and dental care, accounting for parent nativity, parent acculturation, family socioeconomic status, youth gender, youth age, and youth physical health status. We also tested whether youth gender moderated the associations between parents' cultural values and young adults' routine care.


Young adults whose mothers endorsed strong familism values when they were in mid-to-late adolescence were more likely to report at least one routine physician visit in the past year as young adults (odds ratio [OR] = 3.47, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23-9.83, p = .019). Furthermore, for females only, mothers' more traditional gender role attitudes predicted reduced odds of receiving routine health (OR = .22; 95% CI: .08-.64, p = .005) and dental care (OR = .26; 95% CI: .09-.75, p < .012) in young adulthood.


Our findings highlight the importance of examining intragroup variability in culturally specific mechanisms to identify targets for addressing ethnic/racial disparities in health care utilization among Mexican-origin young adults, during a period of increased risk for health-compromising behaviors and reduced access to care.


Cultural values; Mexican Americans; Routine health and dental care; Young adults

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