Family Connections and the Latino Health Paradox: Exploring the Mediating Role of Loneliness in the Relationships Between the Latina/o Cultural Value of Familism and Health

Monica L. Gallegos, Chris Segrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aims to understand Latina/o health from a social relationships perspective. Specifically, a major goal of the study is to explain how despite disadvantages (e.g., lower income and less education), Latinas/os in some cases have superior health compared to non-Latina/o whites, a phenomenon known as the Latino Health Paradox. Based on the central role of familial relationships in Latina/o culture, and utilizing Hawkley and Cacioppo’s theoretical model of loneliness and health as a foundation for the study, the premise underlying this research is that the Latina/o cultural value of familism has a beneficial impact on health via reduced loneliness. Participants were 255 adults who identified as Latina/o (N = 139) or non-Latina/o white (N = 116), ranging in age from 19–88. Results indicate that being Latina/o predicted strong endorsement of familism, that predicted lower loneliness, and lower loneliness subsequently predicted better overall health, mental health, and health practices. These results suggest that the cultural value of familism provides health-related benefits for Latinas/os, which contributes to understanding the Latino health paradox. Results also underscore the value of including loneliness in studies examining the impact of cultural values on health, as only loneliness had statistically significant direct associations with all three health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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