Disparities in functional disability among Arab Americans by nativity, immigrant arrival cohort, and country of birth

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© 2018 The Authors This study contributes to a growing literature that documents the importance of arrival cohort and country of birth for differentiating the health of U.S. immigrants. We use nationally-representative data from nine years of the American Community Survey (2008–2016) to examine if an immigrant health advantage exists among Arab Americans ages 40+ (n = 49,867) and test if differences among the foreign-born vary by arrival cohort (pre-1991, 1991–2000, and 2001+). Results from multivariate logistic regression models find that foreign-born Arab Americans have higher odds of physical and self-care disability, and this varies by immigrant arrival cohort. The post-2001 cohort had the highest odds of both disabilities, while the earlier two cohorts did not differ from the native-born after adjustments for covariates. Compositional differences in birthplace, particularly the large influx of immigrants from Iraq in the most recent cohort, explained these differences. Political instabilities globally have contributed to a growing number of U.S. immigrants with vulnerabilities that might be overlooked when arrival cohorts are not considered.






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Read, Jen'nan G, Kristine J Ajrouch and Jessica S West (2019). Disparities in functional disability among Arab Americans by nativity, immigrant arrival cohort, and country of birth. SSM - Population Health, 7. pp. 100325–100325. 10.1016/j.ssmph.2018.100325 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18086.

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Jen'nan Read

Professor of Sociology

Jessica Sayles West

Medical Instructor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences

Jessica is a medical sociologist who specializes in research on hearing loss, aging, and health disparities over the life course. Jessica’s work has described the “spillover” effects of hearing loss on health outcomes for both individuals and those close to them, as well as sociodemographic disparities in the onset of and life expectancy with hearing loss. Her research, which leverages both population-level data and electronic health record data, has appeared in the Journals of Gerontology, Social Science & Medicine, Ear and Hearing, and other leading journals in medical sociology, hearing, and aging research.

Jessica received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in Social Anthropology (dual Sociology/Anthropology concentration) followed by an M.P.H. in Sociomedical Sciences with a certificate in Public Health Research Methods from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She subsequently received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology with a focus in Medical Sociology and Demography at Duke University. She then completed an NIA T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Duke University Aging Center under the mentorship of Matthew E. Dupre, Ph.D. (Population Health Sciences) and Sherri L. Smith, Au.D., Ph.D. (Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences).

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