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Author Notes:


Authors do not have any competing interests to declare.


Research Funding:

This project was supported by Grant Number R00HD096322 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and benefited from facilities and resources provided by the California Center for Population Research at UCLA (CCPR), which receives core support (P2C-HD041022) from NICHD.


  • Immigrant health disparities
  • Region of origin

Selection, experience, and disadvantage: Examining sources of health inequalities among naturalized US citizens


Journal Title:

SSM Popul Health


Volume 15


, Pages 100895-None

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Objectives We integrated major theories in immigrant health and assimilation into a single analytical framework to quantify the degrees to which demographic composition, pathways to citizenship, and socioeconomic assimilation account for physical and mental health disparities between naturalized immigrants by region of origin. Methods Using the restricted data from the 2015–2016 California Health Interview Survey, we decomposed differences in physical and mental health into demographic factors, path to citizenship, and socioeconomic characteristics by region of origin using the Karlson, Holm, and Breen (KHB) method. Results Differences in socioeconomic status mediated most of the disparity in physical health between naturalized immigrants from different regions. Factors associated with major immigrant health theories—demographic composition, pathways to citizenship, and socioeconomic assimilation—did not mediate disparities in mental health. Conclusion This article argues that the study of health disparities among immigrants must simultaneously account for differences in demographic composition, immigration experience, and socioeconomic disadvantage. The findings also underscore the need for theory development that can better explain mental health disparities among immigrants.

Copyright information:

© 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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