Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 885–889 | Cite as

Health Beliefs and Attitudes of Latino Immigrants: Rethinking Acculturation as a Constant

  • Maria Elena VillarEmail author
  • Maritza Concha
  • Rodrigo Zamith
Original Paper


Health disparities among Latinos have been associated with acculturation, but there is a lack of consensus about how acculturation variables translate into health beliefs that can be used to target attitude and behavior change interventions. Transcripts from three qualitative studies including 64 Latino immigrant adults were analyzed through inductive reasoning to assess relationships between more or less acculturated attitudes, and demographic variables. In the three topic areas of gender roles, sex education, and seeking professional help, attitudes ranged from conservative (less acculturated) to liberal (more acculturated), but did not seem associated with age, education or years in the United States. When dealing with specific health topics, it is not possible to infer specific attitudes, strength of attitudes or level of acculturation of intervention recipients. To develop sound, culturally competent interventions, it is necessary to assess the targets’ beliefs and attitudes and tailor messages in specific contexts.


Health beliefs Health messages Latino culture Acculturation Social judgment theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Elena Villar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maritza Concha
    • 2
  • Rodrigo Zamith
    • 3
  1. 1.Advertising and Public Relations Department, School of Journalism and Mass CommunicationFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Administration, College of Health and Public AffairsUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  3. 3.School of Journalism and Mass CommunicationFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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