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07.12.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 3/2018

Journal of Community Health 3/2018

Understanding Health, Violence, and Acculturation Among South Asian Women in the US

Journal of Community Health > Ausgabe 3/2018
Nitasha Chaudhary Nagaraj, Amita N. Vyas, Karen A. McDonnell, Loretta DiPietro


The devastating effects of experiencing violence in childhood are seen well into adulthood. This has been particularly difficult to assess among South Asians living in the U.S., due to a lack of disaggregated data on this ethnic group. In a web-based survey administered to a convenience sample of South Asian women living in the U.S. (n = 535), information was gathered on experience/exposure to childhood violence; adult intimate partner violence; and adverse health outcomes, including ever suicide ideation/attempt, experiences of quality of life and body esteem in adulthood. Further, an individual’s acculturation levels were measured specifically looking at cultural identity which was guided by Berry’s biculturalism model. This study found that acculturation status is a key factor with respect to childhood verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as body esteem and an individual’s well-being. These results suggest that acculturation plays a key role for childhood violence, as well as key adult health indicators. The findings in this study, suggest that more research is warranted to better understand the complex relationships between acculturation status and health. While studies of South Asian immigrants have increased substantially, the study on how acculturation influences family violence and health outcomes has lagged behind. The findings in this study will provide guidance for future work in understanding how acculturation can play a key role in addressing the health and well-being of South Asian women in the U.S.

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