Negative Acculturation and Nothing More? Cumulative Disadvantage and Mortality during the Immigrant Adaptation Process among Latinos in the United States


  • [Minor typographical changes have been made to this article since it was first published.]

  • This study was funded by a developmental grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD-funded University of Colorado Population Center (grant R21 HD51146) and from partial support from grant R03 HD6606 from NICHD to Fernando Riosmena. The content of this manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or NICHD. A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2011 Meetings of the Population Association of America. We thank Bob Hummer for his thoughtful comments and suggestions and Nancy Mann for her careful editing. We also thank Rajshree Shrestha, Azelia Pradhan, and Sakif Khan for administrative assistance.


Foreign- and U.S.-born Hispanic health deteriorates with increasing exposure and acculturation to mainstream U.S. society. Because these associations are robust to (static) socioeconomic controls, negative acculturation has become their primary explanation. This overemphasis, however, has neglected important alternative structural explanations. Examining Hispanic mortality using the 1998–2006 U.S. National Health Interview Survey-Linked Mortality File according to nativity, immigrant adaptation measures, and health behaviors, this study presents indirect but compelling evidence that suggests negative acculturation is not the only or main explanation for this deterioration.