Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 422–430 | Cite as

Immigrant Generational Status and Developmental Problems among Prematurely Born Children

  • Phylicia T. Bediako
  • Rhonda BeLue
  • Marianne M. Hillemeier
Original Paper


Immigrants in the U.S. often have comparatively favorable health outcomes despite relative socioeconomic disadvantage- a phenomenon termed the Immigrant Paradox. This study examined the relationship between family immigrant status and developmental problems among children born preterm. The 2011–2012 National Survey of Children’s Health data collected through a telephone based survey based on parental report of prematurity and other comorbidities were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression analysis to examine seven developmental outcomes. Preterm 1st/2nd generation children had fewer developmental problems than preterm 3rd generation children. Controlling for socioeconomic status and other covariates, 1st/2nd generation children had significantly lower odds of developmental delay, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and hearing problems. Consistent with the Immigrant Paradox, prematurely born children of immigrants had comparable or better developmental outcomes than preterm children of US born parents despite socioeconomic disadvantage. Further research to explicate mechanisms responsible for the protective health effects observed is warranted.


Health disparities Preterm birth Child development Immigrant Paradox 



The project described was supported by awards T32 DA017629 and P50 DA010075 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Infrastructure support was provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Grant R24HD041025. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phylicia T. Bediako
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rhonda BeLue
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marianne M. Hillemeier
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health Policy and AdministrationPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Population Research InstitutePennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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