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Health and acculturation of Hmong in the United States

TitleHealth and acculturation of Hmong in the United States
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsM. Detjen, G
UniversityDetjen, M Gabrielle: U Wisconsin - Madison, US
Accession NumberDissertation Abstract: 2008-99220-092
Keywords*Acculturation, *Health, *Immigration, Health & Mental Health Treatment & Prevention [3300], health, acculturation, Hmong, immigrants, Human, us
AbstractHmong are descendents of a tribal people from highland Laos and relatively recent immigrants to the United States (US). There have been reports that rates of chronic diseases in Hmong are increasing, while rates of adherence to medical advice remain low. Health changes are expected as the Hmong acculturate to the predominant US culture; however, it is surprising that their healthcare practices do not appear to be changing at the same rate. Currently there is insufficient data to accurately estimate the health status or acculturation level of Hmong in the US. We conducted two focus groups to examine the community's perception of health and acculturation. We additionally used data from a random sample of more than 500 Wisconsin Hmong to document the health concerns affecting Hmong, the population's acculturation level, and how acculturation affects Hmong health. We found that younger and older Hmong have vastly different views on healthcare with younger Hmong generally supporting the biomedical model of disease while older Hmong generally having a poor understanding of disease etiology and were reluctant to seek treatment. Hmong had high rates of overweight, hypertension, and sleep disorder symptoms, but low rates of cigarette smoking compared to other US populations. As a whole, the Hmong population has a relatively low acculturation level compared to other immigrant groups, but we did find some evidence that acculturation is associated with worse outcomes for Hmong. Overall, we found health interventions with Hmong should be sensitive to Hmong culture and focus on education regarding disease etiology and treatment, particularly for older Hmong. We clearly demonstrated that Hmong have a unique health profile and found some evidence that Hmong are acculturating in a manner different from other immigrant groups. As Hmong are relatively recent immigrants to the US, and a relatively young population, it will be important to monitor health and acculturation changes in the coming years. Our findings provide useful information for medical professionals, public health workers, and researchers interacting with Hmong. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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