Latino Immigrants, Acculturation, and Health: Promising New Directions in Research

Annu Rev Public Health. 2016;37:219-36. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032315-021545. Epub 2016 Jan 6.


This article provides an analysis of novel topics emerging in recent years in research on Latino immigrants, acculturation, and health. In the past ten years, the number of studies assessing new ways to conceptualize and understand how acculturation-related processes may influence health has grown. These new frameworks draw from integrative approaches testing new ground to acknowledge the fundamental role of context and policy. We classify the emerging body of evidence according to themes that we identify as promising directions--intrapersonal, interpersonal, social environmental, community, political, and global contexts, cross-cutting themes in life course and developmental approaches, and segmented assimilation--and discuss the challenges and opportunities each theme presents. This body of work, which considers acculturation in context, points to the emergence of a new wave of research that holds great promise in driving forward the study of Latino immigrants, acculturation, and health. We provide suggestions to further advance the ideologic and methodologic rigor of this new wave.

Keywords: assimilation; immigration; neighborhoods; social determinants; transnationalism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Cognition
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Policy
  • Politics
  • Racism / ethnology
  • Research
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Determinants of Health / ethnology
  • Social Environment
  • Social Support
  • United States / epidemiology