Adolescent immigrants, the impact of gender on health status

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Background: Although studies have described the 'healthy immigrant effect' in adults, far fewer have examined the 'healthy immigrant effect' for adolescents living in immigrant families. Those few studies that did, noted conflicting results, and also differed on whether gender confounds the results. Methods: This cross-sectional study was informed by the community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach in which researchers obtained the expertise and guidance on instrument design and study implementation. Data collection of self-administered surveys was completed between May 2015 and December 2015 on adolescents. Comparisons were made among six groups based on gender and immigrant status. Results: Of the total sample (n = 618), more than a third were first or second generation immigrant adolescents (n = 239). Comparisons among six groups, categorized by gender and immigrant status (i.e. first generation immigrants, second generation immigrants, native born), indicated many differences. However, when the differences were taken into account using logistic regression models, excellent health status was least likely to be reported by second generation immigrant males (versus native born adolescent females) (P < 0.01), even after adjusting for the independent associations found for psychological symptoms (P < 0.0001), not smoking (P < 0.05) and having normal BMI (P < 0.05). Conclusions: This study demonstrates the relative disadvantage of second generation immigrant boys, but not first generation boys or first and second generation immigrant girls relative to their native counterparts. Reasons for the gap may be differences in support services and/or parental expectations; however further studies are needed to confirm these possibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-459
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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