Is Acculturation Responsible for the Weak Education Gradient in Health for Asian Immigrant Adults in the United States?
Ying-Ting Wang, University of Texas at Austin
The weak education gradient in health for immigrant groups challenges the well-documented positive association between education and health. The empirical research to examine why the weak association exists is sparse. Researchers hypothesized that, compared to less-educated immigrants, more-educated immigrants stayed longer in the United States and became more acculturated to the American lifestyles, which may worsen more-educated Asian immigrants’ health based on previous literature. In this case, the education-health association becomes weak. I used the 2006–2011 NHIS to examine whether this hypothesis applies to Asian immigrants. Results from logistic regression models and chi-square tests do not support the hypothesis. Duration in the United States does not have a significant relationship with self-rated health when adjusting for demographic characteristics. Moreover, less-educated Asian immigrants have longer duration in the United States compared to more-educated Asian immigrants. Future research should identify possible explanations of the weak education gradient in health for immigrants.