Self-Rated Health Status among New Immigrants in the United States: Does Language Preference Matter?

Veena S. Kulkarni, Arkansas State University
Sawsan Abdulrahim, American University of Beirut

There is convincing evidence that health outcomes are a consequence of a complex interplay of interrelationships between socioeconomic, cultural and structural factors; the specific nature of the relationship is seen to vary across racial/ethnic groups. In the context of the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the United States’ population, there is growing interest in the study of immigrant health. With self-rated health (SRH) status being increasingly employed as a measure of health, research shows that less acculturated and non-English speaking immigrant groups tend to report lower SRH relative to the more acculturated. However, exploration of how a comprehensive measure of language as an indicator of acculturation is associated with SRH among immigrants is limited. We employ the 2003 New Immigrant Survey to analyze the relationship between language of response, in addition to English language proficiency, with SRH. Preliminary results show a significant association between non-English language response and lower SRH.

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Presented in Session 121: Emerging Puzzles in Self-Rated Health