Assimilation, Acculturation, and Allostatic Load in U.S.- and Foreign-Born Hispanics

Abstract

The present study assessed how the adaptation to American culture by United States (U.S.)-born and foreign-born Hispanics living in the U.S. may influence stress-related physiological aspects that may impair health. Data on 8,360 Hispanics living in the U.S. categorized as U.S.-born (n = 3347) and foreign-born (n = 5013) from NHANES 1999–2010 (ages 18–85) were used. Stress-related physiological impact was measured by the allostatic load index (ALoad). Adaptation to American culture was evaluated through three acculturation-related measures. The average age was 39.39 years in a sample where 51% were males. ALoad was classified as no load (15.41%), low load (55.33%), and high load (29.24%). The U.S.-born Hispanics showed higher ALoad compared to foreign-born Hispanics (p < 0.001). Among foreign-born Hispanics, length of residence (LOR) and age of arrival in the U.S. (AOA) were associated with higher ALoad scores (p < 0.05), and in U.S.-born Hispanics, age and sex were positively associated and education was negatively associated with ALoad scores (p < 0.05). Adaptation to American culture in foreign-born Hispanics living in the U.S. appears to influence levels of ALoad in this population.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Rebecca F. Lipscomb, MA, MPPM, Manager Department Research Grants and Training, Nutrition Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham for her assistance with the edits in this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yenni E. Cedillo.

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Cedillo, Y.E., Bertrand, B., Baker, E. et al. Assimilation, Acculturation, and Allostatic Load in U.S.- and Foreign-Born Hispanics. J Immigrant Minority Health 23, 35–44 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-020-01012-7

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Keywords

  • Stress
  • Acculturation
  • Hispanics