Health indicators and social gradient in adolescent immigrants’ health risk and healthcare experiences

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Few studies have assessed healthcare experiences in apparently healthy adolescents, or whether healthcare attitudes are linked to the two leading adolescent health indicators, smoking and obesity. Even fewer have examined these relationships in adolescent immigrant groups or made comparisons to adolescent non-immigrants. Using a cross-sectional study, healthcare experiences were compared among three groups of adolescents (n = 589) including Russian immigrants (n = 154), Ethiopian immigrants (n = 54), and non-immigrants (n = 381). Bootstrap estimates indicated positive healthcare experiences were less common among Russian adolescent immigrants (OR = 0.38, CI = 0.17, 0.86) compared to non-immigrants, unless the Russian adolescent immigrants reported above average socioeconomic status, in which case they were more likely than non-immigrant adolescents to report positive healthcare experiences (OR = 3.22, CI = 1.05, 9.85). Positive healthcare experiences were less likely among adolescents who were smokers (OR = 0.50, CI = 0.27, 0.91), and more likely for adolescents with a normal or low BMI (OR = 3.16, CI = 1.56, 6.40) and for those relying on parents for health information (OR = 1.97, CI = 1.05, 3.70). Conclusion: Findings suggest a social gradient in which positive healthcare experiences were more common among adolescence with higher socioeconomic status for some immigrants (Russian adolescents) but not for others. The two leading health indicators were related to healthcare experiences, but as adolescent smokers were less likely to have positive healthcare experiences, proactive efforts are needed to engage this group.What is Known:• Health indicators (such as obesity) and healthcare attitudes are linked to healthcare service use among adolescents sampled from outpatient and inpatient populations.What is New:• A social gradient involving socioeconomic status and being an adolescent immigrant was found regarding risky health indicators (i.e., smoking, use of internet as the primary source of health information).• Problematic health indicators, such as smoking, is linked to less positive healthcare attitudes in apparently healthy adolescents (both immigrants and non-immigrants).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Adolescents
  • BMI
  • Disparities
  • Health experiences
  • Immigrants
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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