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How Might Differences in Immigration Experiences for Men and Women Lead to Gender Disparities in Functional Limitations for Older Mexican Immigrants in the U.S.? Open Access

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A number of studies have shown that across all races and ethnicities women tend to have higher levels of functional limitations than men despite lower rates of mortality (Warner and Brown 2011; Solé-Auró et al. 2014). While several studies do incorporate Mexican-Americans and include nativity as a control, it is possible that Mexican-born immigrants’ experiences differ from their U.S.-born counterparts in ways that may affect health later in life. Using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study, this study investigates the factors that may account for differences in the strength and mobility limitations between older men and women who are Mexican immigrants living in the United States. These data indicate that socioeconomic status, chronic disease, and depressive symptoms serve as predictors for functional limitations later in life for Mexican-born men and women, and that each of these predictors serves as an explanation for differences in the functional status of these men and women. These findings extend research of gender disparities in morbidity by examining this subpopulation and highlight the importance of focusing on preventing comorbidities and depression, especially for women.

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