“Does this Look Infected to You?” Social Network Predictors of Dental Help-Seeking Among Mexican Immigrants
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Compared to U.S. born Latinos, Mexican immigrants (MAs) have diminished health care access and face substantial barriers to accessing needed dental health services. However, little research has examined how MAs social networks shape their use of dental health services. Using data from 332 Mexican immigrants to the Midwest, this research examines the significance of individual and egocentric network characteristics on two measures of dental health service utilization. Findings reveal that network size, network dental service utilization, and the frequency with which MAs discuss acute problems with network ties, positively correspond to use of oral health services. Conversely, embeddedness in networks where ties hassle egos about dental issues and have low levels of dental health knowledge correspond to lower odds of using these services. This research is among the first to use ego network data and methods to examine the ways network characteristics shape oral health behaviors among this underserved population.
KeywordsSocial networks Oral Health Health care utilization Mexican Americans Emigrants and Immigrants
This research was funded by NIDCR grant DE022096-01A1, and by Project Development Team studies UL1TR001108 and RR025761 from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Additionally, participants in this study were protected by a Federal Certificate of Confidentiality obtained by the Principal Investigator.
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