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Acculturation

  • By: Yu Lu & Michael L. Hecht
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Acculturation is a process of cultural adaptation that occurs when individuals from different cultures come into contact with each other. Acculturation influences health behaviors and outcomes, and its effects contribute to health disparities experienced by immigrant groups. Understanding acculturation and health, therefore, has important implications for health communication.

A large number of studies have examined the relationships among acculturation, health behaviors, and health outcomes, such as smoking, drinking, diet and obesity, blood pressure, oral health, self-rated health, birth outcomes, and mental health. Overall, higher levels of acculturation are associated with better access and more utilization of health services, better oral health, more physical activity, better self-rated health, and less risk of depression. Despite the positive effects of acculturation on certain health outcomes, acculturation also increases other ...

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