Divergent Dilemma: The Reconceptualization and Critical Use of Acculturation in Latinx Health Research

  • Airín D. MartínezEmail author


In this chapter, I delineate the historical and theoretical foundations of acculturation in anthropology, sociology, and psychology; identify popular measures of acculturation; and outline their critiques. After this multidisciplinary refresher, I explore how the process of acculturation can be conceptualized and investigated in relation to one health outcome commonly examined in Latinx health: obesity. My approach departs from stereotypes, acknowledges pre-immigration conditions, and captures the host context. My goal is to provide an example of how to conceptualize the process of acculturation specific to distinct health outcomes. I end by arguing that addressing the problems of acculturation in health research and creating new conceptualizations may help us resolve our divergent dilemma and produce research that provides meaningful information about Latinx health inequalities, both in the United States and abroad.


Acculturation Assimilation Obesity Latinx health Social determinants of health 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health & Health SciencesUniversity of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherstUSA

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