Health Beliefs and Attitudes of Latino Immigrants: Rethinking acculturation as a constant

Health disparities among Latinos have been associated with acculturation, but there is a lack of consensus about how acculturation variables translate into health beliefs that can be used to target attitude and behavior change interventions. Transcripts from three qualitative studies including 64 Latino immigrant adults were analyzed through inductive reasoning to assess relationships between more or less acculturated attitudes, and demographic variables. In the three topic areas of gender roles, sex education, and seeking professional help, attitudes ranged from conservative (less acculturated) to liberal (more acculturated), but did not seem associated with age, education or years in the United States. When dealing with specific health topics, it is not possible to infer specific attitudes, strength of attitudes or level of acculturation of intervention recipients. To develop sound, culturally competent interventions, it is necessary to assess the targets’ beliefs and attitudes and tailor messages in specific contexts.