FOREIGN CULTURAL GROUP IDENTITY, STRESS, AND THE HEALTH OF BLACK IMMIGRANT WOMEN
Doamekpor, Lauren Abla
Smith Bynum, Mia A
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This cross-sectional study investigated the with-in group differential in self-rated health and perceived stress among a sample of Black women from immigrant backgrounds (N = 180). Guided by Identity, the Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity (MMRI) and Social Determinants of Health theories, the relationship between age at arrival and Foreign Cultural Group Identity (FCGI) was assessed. Additionally, the utility of the FCGI measure was investigated. It was hypothesized that: 1) Foreign-born women who migrated to the U.S. as young children would identify less with their foreign culture than foreign-born women who arrived in later life, 2) foreign-born women would report lower levels of perceived stress and better self-rated health compared to U.S.-born women, and 3) FCGI would explain more of the variation in perceived stress and self-rated health than would nativity. FCGI was measured using a modified version of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity's (MIBI) Centrality scale. The Cohen Perceived Stress Scale measured perceived stress and a one-item indicator measured self-rated health. Descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to test for nativity-based differences in self-rated health and perceived stress. The results revealed that age at arrival was not associated with FCGI, and significant differences in perceived stress and self-rated health by nativity were not detected. However, women with high levels of FCGI reported lower perceived stress levels and FCGI explained more variation in perceived stress than did nativity. FCGI was not associated with self-rated health, but women with low levels of perceived stress tended to report better health. Education was negatively associated with perceived stress. Generally, there was not a meaningful difference between nativity and FCGI with respect to their capacity to predict perceived stress. Nevertheless, these findings suggest important future directions for exploring linkages between comprehensive assessment of identity and immigrant health. The implications for policy, programs and epidemiological research will also be discussed.