Social Support and Its Impact on Ethnic Identity and HIV Risk among Migrant Workers

  • Nancy Shehadeh
  • Muni Rubens
  • Jennifer Attonito
  • Terri Jennings


Migrant workers are disproportionately affected by HIV due to poverty, social isolation, lack of access to and availability of health care services, acculturation, language barriers, constant mobility, and lack of knowledge. This study examined the impact of changes in social support on ethnic identity and HIV risk behaviors among migrant workers in South Florida. For this study, baseline and 6-month follow-up data were collected from an HIV intervention study among migrant workers in South Florida (n = 270) who reported unprotected sex in the past 30 days. The Multigroup Identity Measure was used to assess ethnic identity and the Social Provisions Scale examined the degree to which respondents’ social relationships provide various dimensions of social support. Social support was a significant predictor of ethnic identity and of ethnic identity subscales, ethnic identity belonging and ethnic identity explore. There were small but statistically significant short-term changes in ethnic identity and ethnic identity subscales among the migrant workers over the 6-month time period assessed after controlling for the intervention. Future studies should be conducted over a longer period of time to better assess this relationship and possible factors to reduce HIV risk behaviors. There is a need to focus on improving the quality of health and reduce HIV and other risks experienced by this marginalized community.


Migrant workers Ethnic identity Social support Sexual risk behaviors HIV/AIDS prevention HIV risk behaviors 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors report no real or perceived vested interests that relate to this article that could be construed as a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Shehadeh
    • 1
  • Muni Rubens
    • 2
  • Jennifer Attonito
    • 1
  • Terri Jennings
    • 3
  1. 1.Health Administration Department, College of BusinessFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social WorkFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Social Science and Research ConsultingMcKinleyvilleUSA

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