Acculturation and Health Beliefs: Interactions Between Host and Heritage Culture Underlie Latina/o Caregivers’ Beliefs About HPV Vaccination


This study examined the interactive effects of acculturation (host culture acquisition) and enculturation (heritage culture retention) on Latina/o caregivers’ beliefs about their child completing the human papillomavirus vaccine series. Participants were 161 caregiver-child dyads from Florida. Using multiple regression, caregiver knowledge and health beliefs (perceived threat, benefits, barriers, subjective norms, and self-efficacy) about series completion were predicted from caregivers’ scores on acculturation, enculturation, and their interaction, controlling for sociodemographics. Acculturation and enculturation interacted to predict knowledge, benefits, barriers, and self-efficacy. Caregivers with high acculturation scores generally supported series completion, regardless of their enculturation score. However, when acculturation was low, caregivers who retained more (vs. less) of their heritage culture were more knowledgeable and held more favorable beliefs about series completion. Findings highlight the importance of independently assessing acculturation and enculturation in Latina/o immigrant populations. Overlooking enculturation may lead to incomplete conclusions about acculturation and health.

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We would like to thank the health care providers and staff in the Pediatrics Clinic in Immokalee, FL for their assistance with this study. We are also indebted to the many families who contributed to this project. This research was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number R21CA178592. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

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Correspondence to Mary A. Gerend.

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Gerend, M.A., Stephens, Y.P., Kazmer, M.M. et al. Acculturation and Health Beliefs: Interactions Between Host and Heritage Culture Underlie Latina/o Caregivers’ Beliefs About HPV Vaccination. J Immigrant Minority Health 23, 113–120 (2021).

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  • Acculturation
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Papillomavirus vaccines
  • Psychosocial factors