Familism and the Hispanic Health Advantage: The Role of Generational Status and Age at Arrival in the United States

Michael Niño , Willamette University
Christina Diaz, University of Arizona

Because Hispanic immigrants earn lower wages and fewer years of education than U.S.-born residents, their advantaged health status is largely deemed paradoxical. Scholars attempting to reconcile the apparent Hispanic paradox suppose a number of processes—such as data misreporting and selection—could result in overly optimistic health assessments. It could also be the case, however, that the high levels of family support and orientation commonly found among immigrant populations could contribute to Hispanics’ advantageous health status. Unfortunately, the potential link between familism and generational differences in health receive comparably little theoretical or empirical attention. We use data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) to investigate whether family-orientated beliefs and attitudes declines across generations. If such declines exist, we ask whether such trends could potentially explain the less favorable health of the second-generation. Our results will shed additional light on the puzzle surrounding family dynamics, selection and migrant well-being.

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 Presented in Session 7. Migration & Urbanization