This project will contribute to an understanding of the social processes of migration and their impact on health outcomes for older Latin Americans and Latin American migrants to the United States. Specifically, this proposal is to study how disadvantage accumulates across the life-course, resulting in divergent health outcomes for older adults in Latin America and Latino immigrants. The life-course framework describes how early-life experiences might impact later health outcomes by having a cumulative effect on health, or by channeling life chances and health outcomes down particular 'pathways'. The first specific aim is to show the continued effect of early life circumstances (e.g. childhood socio-economic status, childhood health, family cohesion) on later life depression and chronic pain outcomes among older adults in Mexico, and Mexican-American older adults in the United States. Depression is currently the leading cause of disability worldwide, and chronic pain is strongly associated with depressive symptoms. The analysis will make use of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) and the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), longitudinal surveys representative of older adult populations in Mexico and the United States, respectively. This project will also address how the circumstances motivating migration and the process of migration itself change health trajectories across the life-course for MHAS respondents. The second specific aim is to show the effect of migration on depression and chronic pain outcomes for older Mexican adults based on personal and family migration history. I will achieve this aim by modeling depression and pain outcomes on childhood SES, health status and family cohesion among MHAS respondents, stratifying by personal and family migration experience. I will also analyze the differential effects of personal and family migration history on depression and pain for men and women. It is possible that women will be more adversely impacted by migration experience than men, given experiences of raising children alone when spouses migrate and the greater likelihood of other physical disabilities for female return migrants to Mexico. This project will be carried out as part of a rigorous doctoral program at UCLA's School of Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences. The training program includes coursework in quantitative methods and social demography that will provide me with the technical and analytical skills necessary to complete my proposal. The program mentors, Dr. Steven Wallace of UCLA, Dr. Anne Pebley of UCLA and Dr. Rebeca Wong of Univ of Texas, Medical Branch, will provide substantive and methodological expertise throughout the two-year training program, towards the completion and presentation of the proposed analyses, as well as the doctoral dissertation.
This project relates to the social processes of mental health outcomes for of older Latinos in Latin America and the U.S.. Mental health problems (e.g. depression) are one of the greatest contributors to disability, and can exacerbate chronic and acute conditions common among older adults, such as diabetes and cancer.
|Torres, Jacqueline M (2013) Cross-border ties and self-rated health status for young Latino adults in Southern California. Soc Sci Med 81:79-86|
|Torres, Jacqueline M; Wallace, Steven P (2013) Migration circumstances, psychological distress, and self-rated physical health for Latino immigrants in the United States. Am J Public Health 103:1619-27|
|Torres, Jacqueline M; Wong, Rebeca (2013) Childhood poverty and depressive symptoms for older adults in Mexico: a life-course analysis. J Cross Cult Gerontol 28:317-37|