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Study: Immigrant Hispanics less stressed, healthier
May 5th, 2011
12:35 PM ET

Study: Immigrant Hispanics less stressed, healthier

A new study finds that foreign-born Hispanics living in the U.S. experience significantly less stress than American-born Hispanics.

The study, published last month in Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race,  concludes that in addition to education and income disparities, higher levels of chronic stress among Hispanics and African-Americans leads to worse health outcomes in those populations.

But foreign-born Hispanics showed lower levels of stress, similar to whites, while American-born Hispanics showed higher levels of stress, similar to African-Americans, the study showed.

Participants answered questions about job satisfaction, financial strain, discrimination, personal relationships, and violence, ranking their experiences on a scale.

Researchers also took a more objective inventory of significant life events causing stress, such as whether a child had died or if a home had been burglarized.

Stress had a similar effect on all racial ethnic groups – no racial group’s health was found to be more vulnerable to stress than any other group – but the actual amount of stress did vary significantly, with African-Americans experiencing the most stress on average.

Higher levels of chronic stress lead to worse health outcomes, the study finds.

Dr. David Williams, the senior author, says he expected foreign-born Hispanics to have lower levels of stress than American-born Hispanics because previous studies have shown that all immigrants – including Hispanics, Whites, Blacks, and Asians – have better health than their native-born counterparts.

What’s surprising about the findings, Williams says, is just how much more stress those born in the U.S. experience compared with their immigrant counterparts.

In seeking an explanation, the study cites the possibility of a stronger social support network among recent immigrants, and a positive outlook on their opportunities.

“In spite of the difficulties faced in the new society, they are nonetheless comparing their opportunities in the U.S. with the opportunities they had in the country where they came from,” says Williams, “and therefore they focus more on opportunities and see the glass as half full and not half empty.”

The study was conducted by Harvard School of Public Health researchers using data from 3,105 adults in the Chicago Community Adult Health Study.


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soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. forreal89

    Sure the are not working and we are paying for everything I am jealous

    May 6, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. BornAmerican

    I wouldn't be stressed either if I knew that I was going to get free healthcare, food stamps, and get sympathy from the government every time you do something illegal because you can only speak spanish. If they kill someone the only thing that will happen IF they are caught is they'll be deported. Big deal, little vacay to see the family before they cross again.

    May 6, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • iweel

      Actually the reason why they are not stressing is because they haven't spent enough time in the United States to realize that miserable people such as forreal89 and bornamerican exist. The longer they stay here the more stress they become because they start to realize that there is an incredible amount of hatred to which they are subjected. And as mentioned above, their increasing stress levels is very similar to a loss of innocence once they figure out that racism seeps through every aspect of their daily lives. And at first they simply did not notice it.

      April 3, 2012 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
  3. CALNative

    I have worked in construction for 20+ years. These illegal aliens DO NOT pay ANY taxes but social security because they all claim married and 9, even the 18 yr olds. They mindlessly reproduce and are the FIRST in line with forms that need to be filled out for all their illegitimate children. WAKE UP America!

    May 6, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe Bean

      Cal Native? I think not. Unless your Native American, Your family immigranted to this county. Your just a hater, because the people you hate so much and think less of can do the same work you do.

      May 6, 2011 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
  4. Nauseated by ignorance

    Reading these comments is so horrible and sad. Many of you have forgotten that we are all human beings and at one time someone in our families were immigrants and this is part of the beauty of our country. I was born here and I am a good ole white country girl whose entire family is on welfare back home. In my career I have worked closely with many immigrants and they want nothing more than to put food in their children's belly and maybe if they are lucky get them the education they could not get in their country. Sure like all humans, including many who put the horribly offensive comments up, there are people who lie, cheat, steal and take advantage but that is a small percentage and its human nature not immigrant nature.

    I would challenge you all to spend a day in their shoes or better yet return to their village/town and try to support your family. Until you have done that you may want to use all this energy festering inside of you to do something to help society instead of complaining. You might be surprised by the joy you feel from spreading love and kindness and not blaming the rest of the world for your unhappiness. Remember the article was about stress...take a break from your misery.

    May 6, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe Bean

      Very well said thank you!

      May 6, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • teresa, snOhio

      @NBI: after reading this article to drum up sympathy for illegals, it not only pizze z many of us off, but stresses us out too. Especially those of us who have daughters or neices raising Illegal's babies in this country and then running off to some other state to do the same thing over and over again.

      May 7, 2011 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
  5. jj

    I can't imagine that any other country would accept an influx of people who enter the country illegally, stay, multiply, disregard laws, refuse to learn the language, and are supported through taxes paid by the nationals of the country. I believe in assistance for legals but not for illegals.

    May 6, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Burbank

    I'd have less stress if I got everything for free too!

    May 6, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. JEN

    THE ONE THAT HAS A LOT OF STRESS ARE THE ONE THAT POP OUT BABIES THEY CAN'T AFFORD, EATING FATTY,SUGAR LOADED FOOD , SMOKERS, AND AND LACK OF EXERCISE

    May 6, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe Bean

      Jen, you talking about your self or MTV Teen Moms?

      May 6, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  8. Dr B

    It is sad the our county does not enforce its immigration laws. Looks like we are headed for a two class society consisting of the rich and the poor.

    May 6, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. ted

    if you think about your family history, there is always first "illegal". Remember that, think before you start talking about "them".

    May 6, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Yahaira Ramirez

    once again WOW. All these comments are very tragic. Just to start off with my parents are illegal,but yet we made it though the stuff times. I am proud to say that i am a soldier from United States Army and all this disapoints me

    May 6, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Dick Hertz

    Got your pendejo swinging every step I take.

    May 7, 2011 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. teresa, snOhio

    DUH !!! Of course AMERICAN hispanics have more stress ! They are now feeling the dialy stress and having to pay for illegals who might hit them up for some "cousin" monies and help. they have all the american problems everyone else does. The Illegal hispanics who relocated here had ONLY one stressors before coming: HOW TO GET TO THE US! The illegals know all their troubles are over as soon as they cross the line in the sand. Stupid study as it was conducted on people in Chicago which is probably one of the highest stress cities.

    May 7, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dick Hertz

    Forgot about their free Medical Care too. Nothing but leeches.

    May 8, 2011 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Odalice Feliz

    true in certain area

    May 6, 2013 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
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