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Bilingual Immigrants Are Healthier

Update Date: Mar 20, 2012 11:43 PM EDT

A new study found that bilingual immigrants are healthier than their unilingual counterparts.

The study authored by Rice alumna and Stanford University graduate student Ariela Schachter with Rice sociology professors Bridget Gorman and Rachel Tolbert Kimbro exmained associations between English, and native language proficiency and usage and self-rated health for more than 4,649 U.S. immigrants from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The research showed that people with fluent English and native language proficiencies report better physical and mental health than unilinqual immigrants. This better health condition is not impacted by other factors such as socioeconomics status, acculturation, family and social support, stress and discrimination and health behaviors.

"Individuals who maintain native-language fluency while also learning English may be better equipped to retain relationships in their countries of origin and form new ones in the U.S.," Gorman said. "We believe this can help explain the positive relationship between bilingualism and self-rated health."

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