Are you better off? Perceptions of social mobility and satisfaction with care among Latina immigrants in the U.S.

Sonia Mendoza, Adria N. Armbrister, Ana F. Abraído-Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Although the reasons for immigrating to the U.S. vary by Latino groups, many Latinos cite economic or political motivations for their migration. Once in the United States, Latino immigrants may face many challenges, including discrimination and blocked opportunities for social mobility, and difficulties in obtaining health services and quality health care. The purpose of this study was to explore how changes in social mobility from the country of origin to the U.S. may relate to Latina women's health care interactions. We examined whether self-reported social mobility among 419 Latina women immigrants is associated with satisfaction with health care. We also examined the association among social mobility and self-rated health, quality of care, and medical mistrust. Upward social mobility was associated with greater number of years lived in the U.S., and downward social mobility was associated with more years of education. Those who reported no changes in social class (stable social mobility) were older and were the most satisfied with their medical care. Multiple regression analyses indicated that downward social mobility was associated with less satisfaction with care when controlling for demographic covariates, quality of care, and medical mistrust. Results suggest that perceived social mobility may differentially predict Latina immigrants’ satisfaction with the health care system, including their trust in U.S. medical institutions. We conclude that perceived social mobility is an important element in exploring the experiences of immigrant Latinas with health care in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 2018



  • Dominicans
  • Immigrant health
  • Latina health
  • Medical mistrust
  • Quality of care
  • Satisfaction with care
  • Social mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this