Does Being an Immigrant Make a Difference in Seeking Physician Services?


The current study investigated the effects of immigration status, acculturation, and health beliefs on the use of preventive and non-preventive visits, through use of a nationally representative sample of U.S.-born and foreign-born adults. U.S.-born adults were found to have significantly more preventive and non-preventive visits than immigrants. The effects on predicting preventive visits of education, having a usual source of care, and having other public insurance were stronger among immigrants than among the U.S.-born. Health confidence and believing in the need for health insurance significantly predicted the numbers of both preventive and non-preventive visits among the U.S.-born but correlated little with either type of visit among immigrants. Among immigrant adults, acculturation affected only the number of preventive visits. The lower utilization of both preventive and non-preventive care among immigrants may be associated with a combination of better health and more limited enabling resources.