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The purpose of my study is to examine how Latinos’ cultural health beliefs impact their illness behaviors in a rural setting in comparison to White individuals. Illness behavior is defined as the manner in which a person monitors their body, interprets their symptoms, and their reactions to those symptoms. Although Latino immigrants suffer from higher rates of treatable diseases, they are largely underutilizing the healthcare system in the U.S. The Andersen model of healthcare utilization is the most commonly used model for predicting utilization based on the person's environment (i.e. healthcare system) and personal characteristics (i.e. personal need, available resources, predisposing characteristics). Many studies across the U.S. have looked at health disparities within the Latino immigrant population, specifically looking at issues within the healthcare system and other physical barriers to receiving healthcare (e.g. socioeconomic or immigration status). However, no studies have explored illness behaviors and how the Latino culture impacts these behaviors. We sampled N=40 women about their cultural health beliefs in an American healthcare system by using free-listing questions, rankings of importance of health behaviors, and closed survey questions. Our hypothesis compared to Euro-American women, Latinas’ healthcare utilization is largely dependent upon their access to healthcare and health insurance (as previous studies have shown), and their decision to utilize health facilities also relies on their cultural socialization of illness behaviors. Recognizing this additional factor will allow local health facilities on better ways to communicate and encourage health utilization to this population.

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Latin Americans--United States; Medical care; United States--Rural conditions


Health Psychology | Multicultural Psychology | Public Health Education and Promotion | Translational Medical Research

Primo Type

Conference Proceeding

Latinos' Health Perceptions: A Cross-Cultural Analyisis