Culture's role in immigrant health: how cultural consonance shapes diabetes and depression among Mexican women in Alabama

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dc.contributor Dressler, William W.
dc.contributor DeCaro, Jason A.
dc.contributor Murphy, Michael D.
dc.contributor Bunker, Steven B.
dc.contributor.advisor Oths, Kathryn S. Andrews, Courtney 2018-07-11T16:49:16Z 2018-07-11T16:49:16Z 2018
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0002957
dc.identifier.other Andrews_alatus_0004D_13475
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Mexican immigrants tend to be in better health upon arrival to the United States than their U.S.-born counterparts, despite living through the conditions that forced them to migrate initially and enduring what is often a traumatic migration and resettlement process. However, as they carry out their lives in the U.S., even as standard of living improves and they gain access to public health care, studies show that health outcomes often decline. For Mexican immigrant women, this is particularly true with regard to type 2 diabetes and depressive symptoms. Culture is often implicated in this process, and acculturation is the primary analytical framework used to study what happens as individuals transition from the sociocultural context of their upbringing to that of a host society. Typically measured as age at arrival, length of time living in the U.S., and English language proficiency, it is unclear what these proxy variables measure in terms of culture and why they may be implicated in health outcomes. Further, this research tends to obscure the socio-political conditions and structural constraints that shape illness for vulnerable populations. Focusing on Mexican immigrant women living in Alabama, this study uses cultural consonance theory and methodology to better understand how culture and culture change act on the body to produce predictable discrepancies in physiological functioning. Cultural consonance is the degree to which individuals, in their own beliefs and behaviors, live up to the prototypes for those beliefs and behaviors that are encoded in cultural models. I examine the link between cultural consonance and two health outcomes — percentage of Hemoglobin variant A1c (an indicator of type 2 diabetes risk) and depressive symptoms — as well as the extent to which consonance buffers the effects of acculturation on these two outcomes. Instead of locating individuals along a continuum of culture, I consider how well respondents live up to the cultural standards defined in the new sociocultural environment and examine how this affects well-being. The results, and the ethnographic insight in which they are couched, offer a more tenable explanation for how the acculturative experience operates on the body.
dc.format.extent 337 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Cultural anthropology
dc.title Culture's role in immigrant health: how cultural consonance shapes diabetes and depression among Mexican women in Alabama
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Dept. of Anthropology Anthropology The University of Alabama doctoral Ph.D.

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