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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2010

Oregon Social Learning Center, Eugene, OR, USA Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA
Oregon Social Learning Center, Eugene, OR, USA
Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA
Oregon Social Learning Center, Eugene, OR, USA
Farmworker Housing Development Corporation, Woodburn, OR, USA
Farmworker Housing Development Corporation, Woodburn, OR, USA
Department of Anthropology and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA


Perceived discrimination has been linked to poor health outcomes among ethnic and racial minorities in the United States, though the relationship of discrimination-related stress to immigrant health is not well understood. This article reports findings from a preliminary study that examined blood pressure and Epstein-Barr virus antibody levels in relation to self-reported indicators of stress, acculturation and social support among 79 adult immigrant Latino farm workers in Oregon, US. Findings show that increases in discrimination-related stress predicted elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP) and Epstein-Barr virus antibody levels among male participants. Though female participants reported similar levels of discrimination stress, this perceived stress was not reflected in biological measures. Among women, greater English language engagement was linked to higher SBP, and more years in the US was associated with higher diastolic blood pressure. Study results suggest that male and female immigrants' physiological responses to stress may be influenced in distinctive ways by processes of adjustment to life in the US. If replicated, the finding that discrimination stress predicts elevated SBP may have clinical and public health implications given that elevated SBP is an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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