Duration or Disadvantage? Exploring Nativity, Ethnicity and Health in Midlife

TitleDuration or Disadvantage? Exploring Nativity, Ethnicity and Health in Midlife
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsAngel, JL, Buckley, CJ, Sakamoto, A
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences
Call Numberpubs_2001_Angel_JJGSeriesB.pdf
KeywordsDemographics, Employment and Labor Force, Health Conditions and Status, Net Worth and Assets, Women and Minorities

Objectives This study examined nativity as a risk factor for poor physical and emotional health for an ethnically diverse population making the transition into retirement. The authors addressed whether the health disadvantage observed for immigrants lessens with increased time spent in the country (supporting theories of assimilation) or increases with duration of residence (supporting theories of cumulative disadvantage). Methods The sample was drawn from Waves 1 and 2 of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), an in-depth economic, social, and health database of persons in midlife and beyond. The analyses were restricted to 9,912 native-born and 1,031 foreign-born individuals. Results The data revealed that after socioeconomic factors were controlled, foreign-born individuals were at higher risk of poor emotional health than their native-born counterparts. Although aging immigrants displayed worse health than the native-born population, this disadvantage was mediated by duration of residence (young age at migration) and socioeconomic incorporation. Discussion These findings extend our understanding of nativity and duration as risk factors for poor physical and emotional health. Immigrants may overcome the nativity disadvantages found for emotional distress with increased duration of residence, but the pattern becomes more complicated with the inclusion of race and Hispanic ethnicity.

Endnote Keywords

Basic Demographics/Health Status/Duration of Residence/Assimilation/Economic Status

Endnote ID


Citation Key6756