The immune system plays a critical role in the prevention of infectious and chronic disease. We investigate associations between exposure to neighborhood immigrant concentration across the transition from adolescence to adulthood and immune function among Latino young adults, including moderation by nativity. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (1994-2008) were analyzed. Immune function was measured via Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody levels (higher levels indicate impaired immune function) among EBV-positive Latino adults (N=1130). Results indicated the averaged individual exposure to immigrant concentration (mean % of foreign-born residents in the census tract across waves 1-4) was associated with immune function for foreign-born Latinos only (b=-0.37, P<0.05). For waves of exposure, only the cumulative measure of living in an immigrant enclave (census tracts with ≥40% foreign-born residents) across all waves was associated with immune function and only for foreign-born Latinos (b=-0.22, P<0.05). Research on the mechanisms through which neighborhood immigrant concentration confers salubrious physiological outcomes for foreign-born Latinos is needed.
Keywords: Immigrant enclave; Immune function; Latinos; Neighborhood; Stress.
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