Stress-Associated Poor Health Among Adult Immigrants with a Language Barrier in the United States
- 1.4k Downloads
The healthy migrant hypothesis supported by the ‘Hispanic paradox’ suggests that immigrants are healthier than non-immigrants. To test the generalizability of this hypothesis, we studied the stress-associated health status of adult immigrants with a language barrier in the USA. Three stress-related conditions (Unhappiness, Depression, and Anxiety) and self-reported health status were ascertained from participants of the Community Tracking Study Health Survey conducted in 2003. The associations between these conditions as well as the immigrants’ length of time living in the USA and health were assessed. Our results demonstrated that the three stress-related conditions were significantly associated with a dramatically elevated poor health status (Unhappiness: OR = 5.22, 95% CI: 4.43–6.14; Depression: OR = 3.03, 95% CI: 2.31–3.98; Anxiety: OR = 5.12, 95% CI: 3.53–7.41). Compared to US citizens without a language barrier, immigrants with a language barrier were more likely to report poor health (OR = 2.15, 95% CI: 1.66–2.78). After adjustment for stressors, the likelihood of reporting poor health among immigrants with a language barrier decreased significantly (OR = 1.75, 95% CI: 1.05–2.91). In addition, these immigrants were more likely to report poor health within the first 10 years of their living in the USA (≤5 years: OR = 2.79, 95% CI: 1.94–4.02; 6–10 years: OR = 2.68, 95% CI: 1.86–3.86). In summary, immigrants who have a language barrier were generally more stressed, especially at the beginning of their lives as immigrants. The combined effect of stress and a language barrier led to poorer health in these immigrants. Thus, the healthy migrant hypothesis may not be generalizable to this population.
KeywordsStress Health status Emigration and immigration
We thank Dr. Terry S. Field and Mrs. Nancye Aroneo for their help in the preparation of this manuscript.
- 1.US Census Bureau: Profile of selected social characteristics 2000. Supplementary survey summary tables 2001.Google Scholar
- 2.Schmidley, AD. Profile of the foreign-born population in the United States: 2000. Current population reports, series P23-206. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau; 2001. http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-206.pdf. Accessed 6 April 2008.
- 8.Hummer RA. Adult mortality differentials among hispanic subgroups and non-hispanic whites. Soc Sci Quart. 2000;81(1):459–76.Google Scholar
- 12.U.S. Census: Population reports 2000. http://www.census.gov/population/index.htlm. Accessed 6 April 2008.
- 20.Center for Studying Health System Change: Community Tracking Study Household Survey, 2003: [United States] [computer file]. ICPSR04216-v2. Washington, DC: Center for Studying Health System Change [producer], 2006. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-12-03.Google Scholar
- 21.SF-12TM. Standard US Version 1.0, Copyright 1994 The Health Institute; New England Medical Center, distributed by Medical Outcomes Trust.Google Scholar
- 28.Hummer RA, Rogers R, Nam CB, Le Clere FB. Race ethnicity, nativity and U.S. adult mortality. Soc Sci Quart. 1999;80:136–53.Google Scholar
- 31.Office of Policy and Planning, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service: Estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population residing in the United States: 1990 to 2000 (January 2003). http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/Ill_Report_1211.pdf. Accessed 6 April 2008.