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In the United States, most health disparity focused research attempts to understand disparities between White and non-White Americans. In contrast, a study, published in Volume 54 of Annals of Behavioral Medicine, attempts to provide a thorough understanding of disparities between Latinx populations, primarily Mexican and Puerto Rican patients. The researchers stated their intention was to provide all accounting of disparities in asthma control between these populations. Only patients with persistent asthma who required daily medication or control were surveyed for this study.

This study analyzed data on Mexican and Puerto Rican children, aged 5-12. Their caregivers were also surveyed, and gave child spirometry at baseline, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. The participants in this study were recruited from school-based clinics in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as two inner-city hospitals in the Bronx, New York.

This study noted large disparities in the social and environmental predictors of asthma between Mexican and Puerto Rican caregivers. The researchers used a structural equation model, which revealed variations in asthma control over time between ethnicities. Caregiver’s asthma illness representations which aligned with professional models were shown to result in improved results in asthma management in their children throughout the year. The results significantly show that illness representations are malleable and change over time, and that they can be significant predictors of improved asthma control given long enough timescales.

The researchers conclude that the methods used in this study offer a promising glimpse at further intra-ethnic disparity analyses. They note that the Latinx community is extremely heterogeneous, and fine-grained studies such as this are able to provide a more nuanced analysis which can be used to target disparities in a more efficient, targeted manner.

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Arcoleo, K., Marsiglia, F., Serebrisky, D., Rodriguez, J., Mcgovern, C., & Feldman, J. (2019). Explanatory Model for Asthma Disparities in Latino Children: Results from the Latino Childhood Asthma Project. Annals of Behavioral Medicine54(4), 223–236. https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaz041

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