Religious Community and the Hispanic Paradox: A Theological Model of Why
Mexican Immigrants have Better Health than Americans
Patrick Steffen, Ph.D.
Brigham Young University
Proposal Summary: The American population is becoming more diverse, with Hispanic immigration playing a large role in this transition. Recently arrived Hispanic immigrants to the United States have lower levels of cardiovascular disease than European Americans, but as immigrants acculturate their cardiovascular disease increases dramatically. Preliminary evidence indicates that religiosity is health protective for immigrants. The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate the role of religiosity in cardiovascular disease in Hispanic immigrants as they acculturate to life in the United States. Specifically it is hypothesized that religious community, religious coping, religious behavior, and religious values will buffer against the negative effects of acculturation on health and will be related to low cardiovascular disease risk.