Gendered experiences of migration and conceptual knowledge of illness

Jonathan Maupin, Norbert Ross, Catherine A. Timura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Migration is a gendered process which may differentially alter conceptual models of illness as variation and change within specific sub-domains reflect unique experiences and interactions. Forty Mexican migrants completed a questionnaire consisting of 30 true/false questions regarding the symptoms, causes, and treatments of 19 illnesses (570 total questions). Results were analyzed using the Cultural Consensus Model and residual agreement analyses to measure patterns of inter-informant agreement. While men and women share overall agreement, they differ significantly in conceptions of treatment. In general, men over-extend the efficacy of treatment options while women restrict the abilities of folk healers and emphasize dietary changes in treating many illnesses. Variations reflect different social roles and interactions as migration patterns and living conditions reinforce gendered roles in medical decision-making. Women have greater experience with illnesses and interactions with biomedical services, which causes them to approximate biomedical providers' model of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-608
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Conceptual models of illness
  • Cultural consensus analysis
  • Gender
  • Medical anthropology
  • Mexican migrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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