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Soc Sci Med. 2018 Oct;215:115-122. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.09.011. Epub 2018 Sep 11.

Inequality and health among foreign-born latinos in rural borderland communities.

Author information

1
Department of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health, University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, USA. Electronic address: ann.cheney@medsch.ucr.edu.
2
The Center for Nonprofit Management Los Angeles, USA.
3
Center for Healthy Communities, University of California, Riverside, USA.
4
Palm Desert Resuscitation Education, USA.

Abstract

Thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans settle in communities along the borderlands between Mexico and the United States. Many live and work in rural communities characterized by poverty and limited access to basic resources. Drawing on qualitative research, this article reports on inequalities and health among foreign-born Latinos in rural borderland communities. From 2015 to 2016, the study team conducted research in Inland Southern California's Eastern Coachella Valley with Mexican farmworkers, farmworker advocates, community leaders, healthcare service providers, and local political leaders. The analysis of field notes and interviews demonstrates how situational and temporal factors position this foreign-born population as vulnerable to inequalities across multiple social systems resulting in low social status, lack of employment and housing stability, and limited access to healthcare services. Over time, the experience of both situational life events and persistent and daily chronic strain infringes on self-concept, including mastery or control over life and self-worth, and contributes to stress and subsequent poor mental health outcomes (e.g., depression). The research calls for local community action, healthcare policy change, and further in-depth research on structural inequalities in health among foreign-born Latinos.

KEYWORDS:

Borderlands; Community based participatory research; Latino health; Mental health; Rural health

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