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Documentation Status and Parental Concerns About Development in Young US Children of Mexican Origin

  • Alexander N. Ortega
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Alexander N. Ortega, PhD, Director and Professor, Institute for Social Research, University of California, Los Angeles, 2134 Rolfe Hall, Los Angeles, California 90095-1484.
    Affiliations
    Departments of Health Services (Dr Ortega and Dr Inkelas) and Community Health Sciences (Dr Wallace), School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif; Department of Pediatrics and the Centers for Health Policy and Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (Dr Horwitz); Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla (Dr Fang); Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif (Dr Kuo)
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  • Sarah M. Horwitz
    Affiliations
    Departments of Health Services (Dr Ortega and Dr Inkelas) and Community Health Sciences (Dr Wallace), School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif; Department of Pediatrics and the Centers for Health Policy and Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (Dr Horwitz); Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla (Dr Fang); Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif (Dr Kuo)
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  • Hai Fang
    Affiliations
    Departments of Health Services (Dr Ortega and Dr Inkelas) and Community Health Sciences (Dr Wallace), School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif; Department of Pediatrics and the Centers for Health Policy and Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (Dr Horwitz); Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla (Dr Fang); Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif (Dr Kuo)
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  • Alice A. Kuo
    Affiliations
    Departments of Health Services (Dr Ortega and Dr Inkelas) and Community Health Sciences (Dr Wallace), School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif; Department of Pediatrics and the Centers for Health Policy and Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (Dr Horwitz); Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla (Dr Fang); Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif (Dr Kuo)
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  • Steven P. Wallace
    Affiliations
    Departments of Health Services (Dr Ortega and Dr Inkelas) and Community Health Sciences (Dr Wallace), School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif; Department of Pediatrics and the Centers for Health Policy and Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (Dr Horwitz); Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla (Dr Fang); Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif (Dr Kuo)
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  • Moira Inkelas
    Affiliations
    Departments of Health Services (Dr Ortega and Dr Inkelas) and Community Health Sciences (Dr Wallace), School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif; Department of Pediatrics and the Centers for Health Policy and Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (Dr Horwitz); Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla (Dr Fang); Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif (Dr Kuo)
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Published:April 27, 2009DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2009.02.007

      Objective

      To examine parent concerns about development, learning, and behavior for young children of Mexican origin, and to identify whether these reports differ by families' citizenship/documentation status.

      Methods

      Data come from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey, a population-based random-digit dial telephone survey of California's noninstitutionalized population. California Health Inerview Survey (CHIS) investigators completed interviews of 43 020 households with a total of 5856 children under age 6 years, of whom 1786 were reported being of Mexican origin. Developmental risk was measured by parent concerns elicited by the Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status. We used bivariate and multivariate analyses to examine associations between developmental risk and family citizenship/documentation status (parents are undocumented, at least one documented noncitizen parent, or both parents are US citizens) among children of Mexican origin and US-born non-Latino white children, after adjusting for age, income, parental education, and predominant household language.

      Results

      In multivariate analyses, children of Mexican origin did not differ significantly from US-born white children in developmental risk (odds ratio 1.12, 95% confidence interval 0.88–1.42). In subgroup analyses, children of Mexican origin with undocumented parents had higher odds of developmental risk (odds ratio 1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.00–2.33) than non-Latino white children whose parents were citizens, after adjusting for confounders.

      Conclusions

      Mexican children with undocumented parents have greater parent-reported developmental risk than Mexican and white children whose parents are US citizens or otherwise legally documented. More research is needed to understand the roles of immigration stress and home environments on the developmental risks of children in households with undocumented parents.

      Key Words

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