Faculty Member

Researchers have established that minority groups tend to suffer worse health outcomes compared to their white counterparts, though the specific mechanisms at play are still under investigation. The passing of Arizona's 2010 “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” commonly referred to as “S.B. 1070,” provides a unique opportunity to examine the effects of an increasingly racially charged milieu on Latino health. Using the Arizona sample of the 2009–2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we find that the changing social setting around S.B. 1070 is related to poorer Latino self-reported health, but only for those whose primary language is Spanish. Furthermore, serving as control groups, we find no such relationship in other U.S.-Mexico border states that had no analogous legislation (Texas, New Mexico, and California). We expand on stress process theory and group position theory to explain this increase in Arizona's negative health reporting, despite traditional social and economic protective factors.