Substantial research indicates that Mexican Americans are excessively vulnerable to the metabolic syndrome, with recent studies reporting metabolic syndrome prevalence rates of 30% or higher in this population. Because of the modifiable nature of the underlying causes of the metabolic syndrome and its strong association with cardiovascular disease (CVD), a better understanding of why Mexican Americans are predisposed to this condition is essential in any attempt to eliminate current CVD risk disparities in this population. The long-term goal of this research proposal is to contribute to the literature on CVD disparities in this at-risk population and to assist in the effort to eliminate such disparities. Toward this goal, the proposed research will examine the degree to which culturally-relevant variables represent risk and resilient factors for the metabolic syndrome. First, exploratory analyses will be conducted to examine: a) the nature and distributions of cultural characteristics considered potentially relevant to disease risk and resilience, including acculturation, familism, fatalism, and religiosity, and their co-variation and associations with sociodemographic characteristics;b) the relationship between cultural characteristics and behavioral risk factors relevant to the metabolic syndrome (i.e., dietary factors;physical activity);c) the relationship between cultural characteristics and metabolic syndrome indicators;and d) whether behavioral factors help explain (i.e., """"""""mediate"""""""") the relationship between cultural characteristics and metabolic syndrome variables. The training goals and research aims of the proposed plan will be accomplished in the context of two studies. The first study will examine archival data from a pilot project (South San Diego Women's Health Study;PI: L.C. Gallo;N=146) that served as the foundation for a study of the role of stress, psychosocial resources, and emotional factors in SES and ethnic CVD disparities in middle aged Mexican American women (Cardiovascular Risk Disparities: Socioemotional Pathways;PI: L. C. Gallo;N = 200). The second study will be used to conduct a comprehensive examination of the proposed cultural framework. A more inclusive understanding of the relevance of acculturation and Mexican cultural characteristics can help preserve any potential resiliency that exists and/or contribute to culturally sensitive approaches to risk prevention and intervention in this population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HOP-U (29))
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Stoney, Catherine
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San Diego State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
San Diego
United States
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Espinosa de Los Monteros, Karla; Gallo, Linda C (2013) Fatalism and cardio-metabolic dysfunction in Mexican-American women. Int J Behav Med 20:487-94
Jimenez, Jessica A; Shivpuri, Smriti; de los Monteros, Karla Espinosa et al. (2012) Associations between socioeconomic status and catecholamine levels vary by acculturation status in Mexican-American women. Ann Behav Med 44:129-35
Gallo, Linda C; Fortmann, Addie L; Roesch, Scott C et al. (2012) Socioeconomic status, psychosocial resources and risk, and cardiometabolic risk in Mexican-American women. Health Psychol 31:334-42
Gallo, Linda C; Jimenez, Jessica A; Shivpuri, Smriti et al. (2011) Domains of chronic stress, lifestyle factors, and allostatic load in middle-aged Mexican-American women. Ann Behav Med 41:21-31
Espinosa de Los Monteros, Karla; Gallo, Linda C (2011) The relevance of fatalism in the study of Latinas' cancer screening behavior: a systematic review of the literature. Int J Behav Med 18:310-8
Espinosa de Los Monteros, Karla; Gallo, Linda C; Elder, John P et al. (2008) Individual and area-based indicators of acculturation and the metabolic syndrome among low-income Mexican American women living in a border region. Am J Public Health 98:1979-86