Latent Profiles of Acculturation and Their Implications for Health: A Study With Asian Americans in Central Texas

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Abstract

The present study identified profiles of acculturation in Asian Americans and explored their implications for health. Pointing out the upward selection bias of Asian Americans in English-only surveys, the study calls attention to the importance of obtaining Asian American samples that reflect the group’s cultural and linguistic diversities. Data were drawn from 2,602 participants (age range = 18–98) in the 2015 Asian American Quality of Life (AAQoL) Survey, conducted in central Texas. To reach out to diverse groups of Asian Americans, culturally and linguistically sensitive approaches (e.g., survey questionnaire in Asian languages, bilingual/bicultural recruiters and survey assistants, and partnerships with key individuals and organizations within ethnic communities) were employed, resulting in a sample almost half of which were surveyed in their native languages. Latent profile analysis based on acculturation-related variables (nativity, proportion of life lived in the United States, English speaking ability, familiarity with host culture, familiarity with heritage culture, identity toward ethnic origin, and sense of belonging to the community of ethnic origin) identified a 4-cluster solution: fully bicultural, moderately bicultural, alienated from host culture, and alienated from heritage culture. The fully bicultural group was most advantaged in terms of self-ratings of physical, oral, and mental health. The alienated from heritage culture group demonstrated a particular risk for physical and mental health, whereas the alienated from host culture group was at risk for oral health. Findings not only help understand the heterogeneity of acculturation in Asian Americans but also provide implications for health interventions.

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