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Latino Immigrants: Self-Medication Practices in Two California Mexican Communities

Abstract

Although social scientists have taken up the study of medication use in both developing and developed nations, the medication practices of immigrants remain largely unstudied. In this study, qualitative research was employed in order to describe and compare self-medication practices in two California Mexican immigrant groups: families living along the border near Tijuana, Mexico, and migrant farm worker families residing in illegal encampments and substandard housing in San Diego's North County. Medication and health seeking practices were found to vary according to the specific political–economic, sociocultural, and geographic contexts in which different subpopulations of California Mexicans live. The California–Mexico border area was examined as an important context for considering self-medication behaviors, since it permits border-crossing into Tijuana for the purpose of buying Mexican pharmaceuticals at low cost without a prescription. The popularity of injections among California Mexicans and the cross-border purchasing of injectable antibiotics and vitamins are discussed as issues of particular relevance for immigrants living along the border.

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Pylypa, J. Latino Immigrants: Self-Medication Practices in Two California Mexican Communities. Journal of Immigrant Health 3, 59–75 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009509815804

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009509815804

  • Mexicans
  • immigrants
  • self-medication
  • injections
  • health services utilization