The overall objective of the project is to investigate the psychological, social, and familial consequences of migration for older Cuban immigrant. Using different from participant observation, a survey questionnaire, structured and unstructured interviews, including focus groups, and life histories, this research will aim to address the following key questions: 1) How does this immigration and differing degrees of acculturation affect their mental health? 2) What then are the related stresses associated with the age structure of this immigrant community? And 3) What is the nature of intergenerational relations in this context and what are the alternatives for social support? It is hypothesized that: (i) The earlier in life a person migrates and the longer their time of residence in the U.S. the more assimilated they become and hence the better their mental health; (ii) Alternatively, cohort differences in mental health may be collapsed, by the community ideology of exile. These hypotheses will be tested through cohort analysis of the survey data, and both quantitative and qualitative (textual) analysis. Mental health in research refers to self-reported emotional well being, the presence of degressive symptoms based on a geriatric depression scale, as well as report of treatment and medication for depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. The conceptual framework and methodology are derived from anthropological and interdisciplinary literatures on aging, ethnicity and health. The proposed research will provide an in-depth study of elderly Cuban immigrants in South Florida with the purpose of investigating the cultural and social factors confronted by older Cuban immigrants in South Florida and how these affect their mental health. It is projected that by the year 2025, nearly 1/4th of the U.S. population will be of Hispanic descent and that in 2050 7.9 million or 1 in 6 of Latinos in the U.S. will be over the age of 65. Hence, the present example of Cuban-American community, with approximately 20% of its population over age 65, may serve as a template for understanding and preparing for the future of diverse aged populations. Therefore, the proposed research will not only provide specific empirical data on an understudied population, but will also contribute to the cross-cultural understanding of the process of aging as it is related to understudied population, but will also contribute to the cross-cultural understanding of the process of aging as it is related to ethnicity and mental health from a life course perspective. The maintenance of social ties, roles, and participation in activities are often related to well being. These elements are often lost or decline among immigrants or other older persons moving to new environments. Anthropologists have suggested that the process of aging, as well as perceptions of our well being is culturally constituted, that is, they are a product of cultural norms and values Aging may be approached as the accumulation of life events. Therefore, anthropological research can contribute to more comprehensive understanding of the issues affecting the immigrant elderly. Anthropological methodology and theory will complement understandings of demographic phenomena to better understand an emerging public health issue.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
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Elias, Jeffrey W
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Johns Hopkins University
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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