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The Comparability of Perceived Physical and Mental Health Measures Across Immigrants and Natives in the United States


Maskileyson, Dina; Seddig, Daniel; Davidov, Eldad (2021). The Comparability of Perceived Physical and Mental Health Measures Across Immigrants and Natives in the United States. Demography, 58(4):1423-1443.

Abstract

The comparative study of perceived physical and mental health in general—and the comparative study of health between the native-born and immigrants, in particular—requires that the groups understand survey questions inquiring about their health in the same way and display similar response patterns. After all, observed differences in perceived health may not reflect true differences but rather cultural bias in the health measures. Research on cross-country measurement equivalence between immigrants and natives on self-reported health measures has received very limited attention to date, resulting in a growing demand for the validation of existing perceived health measures using samples of natives and immigrants and establishing measurement equivalence of health-related assessment tools. This study, therefore, aims to examine measurement equivalence of self-reported physical and mental health indicators between immigrants and natives in the United States. Using pooled data from the 2015–2017 IPUMS Health Surveys, we examine the cross-group measurement equivalence properties of five concepts that are measured by multiple indicators: (1) perceived limitations in activities of daily life; (2) self-reported disability; (3) perceived functional limitations; (4) perceived financial stress; and (5) nonspecific psychological distress. Furthermore, we examine the comparability of these data among respondents of different ethnoracial origins and from different regions of birth, who report few versus many years since migration, their age, gender, and the language used to respond to the interview (e.g., English vs. Spanish). We test for measurement equivalence using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. The results reveal that health scales are comparable across the examined groups. This finding allows drawing meaningful conclusions about similarities and differences among natives and immigrants on measures of perceived health in these data.

Abstract

The comparative study of perceived physical and mental health in general—and the comparative study of health between the native-born and immigrants, in particular—requires that the groups understand survey questions inquiring about their health in the same way and display similar response patterns. After all, observed differences in perceived health may not reflect true differences but rather cultural bias in the health measures. Research on cross-country measurement equivalence between immigrants and natives on self-reported health measures has received very limited attention to date, resulting in a growing demand for the validation of existing perceived health measures using samples of natives and immigrants and establishing measurement equivalence of health-related assessment tools. This study, therefore, aims to examine measurement equivalence of self-reported physical and mental health indicators between immigrants and natives in the United States. Using pooled data from the 2015–2017 IPUMS Health Surveys, we examine the cross-group measurement equivalence properties of five concepts that are measured by multiple indicators: (1) perceived limitations in activities of daily life; (2) self-reported disability; (3) perceived functional limitations; (4) perceived financial stress; and (5) nonspecific psychological distress. Furthermore, we examine the comparability of these data among respondents of different ethnoracial origins and from different regions of birth, who report few versus many years since migration, their age, gender, and the language used to respond to the interview (e.g., English vs. Spanish). We test for measurement equivalence using multigroup confirmatory factor analysis. The results reveal that health scales are comparable across the examined groups. This finding allows drawing meaningful conclusions about similarities and differences among natives and immigrants on measures of perceived health in these data.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
08 Research Priority Programs > Social Networks
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:immigration, measurement equivalence, multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (MGCFA), alignment optimization, IPUMS Health Surveys
Language:English
Date:1 August 2021
Deposited On:17 May 2021 11:15
Last Modified:08 Jul 2024 13:39
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0070-3370
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1215/00703370-9304855
Official URL:https://read.dukeupress.edu/demography/article-pdf/doi/10.1215/00703370-9304855/921694/9304855.pdf
PubMed ID:33970238