Gender, Acculturation, and Health among Mexican Americans
This study examines whether the relationship between acculturation and physical health varies by gender among Mexican Americans, and if the mechanisms that mediate the acculturation-health relationship operate differently by gender. Using the 1998–2007 National Health Interview Study, we construct a composite measure of acculturation and estimate regression models for the total number of health conditions, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Immigrants with the lowest levels of acculturation are the healthiest, but this association is stronger for men. Medical care plays a central role in accounting for gender and acculturation differences across health outcomes—increased access to and utilization of medical care is associated with worse health, which suggests that better health among recent arrivals (particularly men) partially results from their lack of knowledge about their own poor health.