Maternal Acculturation and Childhood Immunization Levels Among Children in Latino Families in Los Angeles

Published In: American Journal of Public Health, v. 87, no. 12, p. 2018-2021, Dec. 1997

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1997

by Laurie M. Anderson, David L. Wood, Cathy D. Sherbourne

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This study examined the relationship between acculturation levels of poor Latina women in Los Angeles and their children's immunization status. Receipt of three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and two doses of oral polio vaccine by the age of 12 months was considered adequate immunization. Household interviews were conducted in East Los Angeles and South Central Los Angeles with mothers (n = 688) about one randomly selected child aged 12 to 36 months. One fourth of the children were inadequately immunized. Less-acculturated mothers were more likely to have adequately immunized children. Inadequate prenatal care, absence of close family members, the child's birth position as other than firstborn, and more than one family relocation during the child's lifetime were associated with inadequate immunization. The findings challenge the notion that children of recent immigrants bear a higher risk of underimmunization.

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