Migration, family, gender, and reproductive health of Mexican-origin young women


Coleman-Minahan, Kate (2015). Migration, family, gender, and reproductive health of Mexican-origin young women.


Latina adolescents have higher adolescent birth rates than any race/ethnic group and Mexican-origin Latinas have higher birth rates than Puerto Rican and Cuban adolescents. The purpose of the dissertation is to examine how cultural constructions of gender and sexuality help explain the relationship between immigrant generation, family characteristics, and reproductive health behavior of Mexican-origin young women. I used the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine how immigrant generation moderated the relationship between family structure and family socioeconomic status (SES) and the hazard of sexual initiation, the hazard of an adolescent birth, and the odds of contraceptive use at first sex among Mexican-origin adolescents. I then conducted life history interviews with 21 first and second generation Mexican-origin young women in Denver, who are currently the same ages of the Add Health participants to understand the process of migration and how migrant families shape gender. I found that two biological parents, grandparents, and older siblings were protective in reducing risky sexual and reproductive health behaviors. Parental education increased the hazard of sexual initiation in the first and second generations but reduced the hazard in the third generation. Having a mother not working as compared to having a professionally employed mother, reduced the hazard of sexual initiation and adolescent birth in the first and second generations and increased the odds of contraceptive use in all three generations. Parent-adolescent communication about sex, particularly encouragement to delay intercourse, was associated with a delay in sexual initiation and a lower risk for adolescent childbearing. Extremely gendered households were associated with an increased risk for sexual initiation and an adolescent birth and these households were of lower SES and had more instability than moderately gendered households. Thus, culture cannot be separated from SES and structural influences. My results contribute to a more comprehensive cultural framework to understand health disparities by incorporating overlooked structural influences, including migration.




Social sciences


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2015

Reference Type


Book Title

Health and Behavioral Sciences


Coleman-Minahan, Kate

Series Author(s)

Bull, Sheana

Year Published


Volume Number





University of Colorado at Denver

City of Publication

Ann Arbor





Reference ID