May 14, 2018

Stress, Resilience, and Embodiment of Cardiometabolic Risk in Children of Hispanic Immigrants

Amy Non, University of California, San Diego

Hispanic immigrants represent the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority in the US. Thus, an important research focus for the future health of the US is to determine factors that influence the declining health of immigrants with more time lived in the US, and across generations. Much research has focused on the adoption of poorer health behaviors with acculturation, but less attention has focused on the role of psychosocial stress, or resilience factors, experienced by immigrant mothers or their children. Through focus groups and extensive structured interviews with Hispanic immigrant mothers and their children (aged 6-13) in Nashville, TN, we examined a range of psychosocial stress exposures, such as work-family tradeoff and limited freedom/mobility, and resilience factors, such as optimism and social support. I will also discuss results of ongoing quantitative analyses exploring hormonal and epigenetic mechanisms through which these stressors may become biologically embedded to predispose children of Hispanic descent to higher risk for cardiometabolic diseases.