Exploring Latinidad, Migration Processes, and Immigrant Experiences: Experiences Influencing Latino Health

  • Evelyn Arana-Chicas
  • Erin Ihde
  • Francisco Cartujano-Barrera
  • Natalia Suarez
  • Denisse Tiznado
  • Alejandra Hurtado-de-Mendoza
  • Mariana Ramírez-Mantilla
  • Lisa Sanderson Cox
  • Edward F. Ellerbeck
  • Ana Paula Cupertino
Keywords: immigrants, human migration, Latino, Hispanic, health status disparities

Abstract

Introduction

Over the last few decades, Latino migration to the U.S.
has re-shaped the ethnic composition of the country, and influenced
the meaning of “ethnic” and “racial” identity. The purpose of this
qualitative study was to explore the definition and meaning of being
Latino and how this may guide the development of interventions to
promote their health.

Methods

Twenty-six Latino immigrants living in Kansas completed
a socio-demographic survey and semi-structured interviews to assess
and explore personal immigration experiences and perspectives on
the meaning of being Latino in the U.S.

Results

Participant reports were grouped into eight themes on Latino
identity that were organized by geographic origin, family roots/ties,
and acculturation. Immigration experiences were described as both
positive and negative with most participants experiencing discrimination
and loneliness, but also reports of improved quality of life.
Further, most participants reported a strong sense of Latinidad; that
Latino immigrant communities in the U.S. are interdependent and
supportive of each other.

Conclusions

The experience of being a member of a minority group
might contribute to the development of a cohesive sense of Latino
identity as participants acculturate to the U.S. while preserving a
sense of attachment to their culture of origin. Future interventions
should be sensitive to migration experiences as they might influence
changes in health behaviors.

Published
2019-11-26
Section
Original Research