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Open Access Research article

Acculturation and self-reported health among Hispanics using a socio-behavioral model: the North Texas Healthy Heart Study

Katandria L Johnson1*, Joan F Carroll2, Kimberly G Fulda13, Kathryn Cardarelli45 and Roberto Cardarelli13

Author Affiliations

1 Primary Care Research Institute, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, 855 Montgomery Street, Fort Worth, TX, USA

2 Department of Integrative Physiology, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd Fort Worth, TX, USA

3 Department of Family Medicine, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, 855 Montgomery Street, Fort Worth, TX, USA

4 Center for Community Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth, TX, USA

5 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, USA

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:53  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-53

Published: 2 February 2010

Abstract

Background

Acculturation is a continuous, firsthand contact with other cultures functioning at both group and individual levels and is reflected in our culturally diverse society, calling for a greater understanding of the environmental and cultural impact on health. Self-reported health (SRH), a robust and well validated predictor of future mortality for all racial/ethnic groups, has been differentially reported by Hispanics compared to whites, especially based on their acculturation status. This study investigated the relationship between acculturation and SRH among Hispanics. An adapted Andersen framework was used to develop logistic regression models to assess for an association between acculturation and general health status.

Methods

Hispanic participants (n = 135), as part of the North Texas Healthy Heart Study, were administered standardized questionnaires on acculturation, psychosocial measures which included sense of control, stress, depression and social support and a single item SRH measure. In addition, physiological measurements and demographic characteristics including age, gender, body mass index, medical history, and socioeconomic status were also obtained.

Results

Bivariate analyses found Mexican-oriented participants 3.16 times more likely to report fair/poor SRH compared to Anglo-oriented Hispanics. Acculturation was also associated with SRH in multiple regression models controlling for enabling, need, and predisposing factors together (OR: 3.53, 95% CI: 1.04, 11.97).

Conclusions

Acculturation status was associated with SRH after accounting for other underlying factors. Medical and public health professionals should promote the use of acculturation measures in order to better understand its role in Hispanic behaviors, health outcomes and health care use. Such research findings will contribute to the design of culturally sensitive prevention and treatment strategies for diverse and immigrant populations.