An Intersectional Gaze at Latinidad, Nation, Gender and Self-Perceived Health Status

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This study's main objective is to examine selected health care factors that are associated with self-perceived health status. Five research questions guided this study: Are there differences by gender on health access, English language proficiency, literacy levels, health behaviors, perceived discrimination and depression? Are there differences in reported number of chronic conditions, sources of health information and complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) used by gender? What factors are most likely to predict self-perceived health status by gender? What complementary and alternative medicines are Central and South Americans most likely to use by gender? And what sociodemographic factors distinguish Central and South Americans from other Latinos subgroups? The study used a cross-sectional design. Data was collected using a survey instrument that obtained sociodemographic information, and measured literacy, health behaviors, perceived discrimination and self-reported presence of chronic conditions, sources of health information and use of CAM. Multi-methods were used to analyze data: descriptive, univariate and bivariate analytic techniques; content analyses and regrouping of responses into thematic categories; and comparative analyses of socio-demographic and access indicators of study sample to national data. The major findings of this study are that few gender differences were found on the major study variables. However, women are less likely to drink alcohol and smoke but have higher rates of depression. Reported number of chronic conditions, sources of health information, and complementary/alternative medicine showed no difference by gender. The strongest predictor of self-perceived health status was higher education level. Sociodemographic factors that distinguish Central and South Americans from Latinos subgroups include: the study sample has significantly less income than the national sample although similar education levels; self-perceived health status of fair/poor is higher among study sample than other Latino subgroups with Central and South American women respondents having higher rates than male respondents. This study contributes to knowledge in the field of Women's Studies and Latino Studies by expanding the lens of the study of women's health by theorizing the importance of the intersection of race/ethnicity and class as experienced by Latinas.