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JOURNAL ARTICLE

The effect of acculturation on frailty among older Mexican Americans

Meredith C Masel, Bret Howrey, M Kristen Peek
Journal of Aging and Health 2011, 23 (4): 704-13
21189315

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of acculturation on becoming frail and prefrail over a 10-year period among older Mexican Americans.

METHOD: A nationally representative sample of 2,049 Mexican Americans aged 67 to 108 was analyzed. Adjusted for sociodemographics and health, longitudinal multinomial mixed models examined the effects of English language and frequency of contact with Anglo-Americans on transitions among deceased, nonfrail, prefrail, and frail statuses.

RESULTS: Greater English language proficiency was associated with a 10% reduced likelihood of becoming prefrail (p < .05) and marginally associated with a reduced likelihood of becoming frail (relative risk = 0.88; p = .07). Frequent contact with Anglos was significantly associated with a reduced likelihood of becoming frail (relative risk = 0.87; p < .05).

DISCUSSION: Among older Mexican Americans, acculturation at baseline was protective of transitioning from a nonfrail or prefrail to a frail state. These findings suggest that increased acculturation may provide Mexican Americans with protection from health issues in old age.

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