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SSM Popul Health. 2016 Mar 19;2:141-148. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2016.02.011. eCollection 2016 Dec.

A life-course perspective on legal status stratification and health.

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RWJF Health & Society Scholars Program, University of California, San Francisco & University of California, Berkeley and UCSF Center for Health & Community, 3333 California Street, Suite 465, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.
Department of Community Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, 650 Charles E. Young Drive South, 36-071 CHS, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1772, USA.


Scholars have expressed growing interest in the relationship between legal status stratification and health. Nevertheless, the extant research often lacks theoretical underpinnings. We propose the life-course perspective as a theoretical lens with which to understand relationships between legal status stratification and health outcomes. In particular, the life-course perspective guides researchers׳ attention to historical contexts that have produced differential social, political, and economic outcomes for immigrants based on legal status, and to the potentially long-term and intergenerational relationships between legal status stratification and health. We review four key dimensions of the life-course perspective and make recommendations for future directions in public health research on legal status and health.


Immigrant health; Intergenerational effects; Legal status stratification; Life-course perspective

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