The paradoxical “Hispanic paradox” the dark side of acculturation

Russell Gonnering, William Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since first described by Markides and Coreil in 1986, multiple authors have attempted to unravel the curious finding that Hispanic Americans appear to, in spite of seemingly disadvantageous health factors, to have better outcomes than expected. While there have been some dissenting studies, the preponderance of evidence seems to support the finding, although the exact mechanism remains elusive. A computational analysis of the 2011-2016 data on the counties of Arizona and New Mexico contained in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps confirmed that this Hispanic Paradox does indeed exist. However additional factors, such as the distribution and concentration of the Hispanic population, appear to be necessary in order for it to manifest. It is maximized once a critical level of population percentage and lack of acculturation are met. These levels are achieved in some counties in Arizona, but are absent in New Mexico, despite an average county Hispanic population percentage only 60% that seen in New Mexico. In this regard, the Hispanic Paradox appears to follow the same dynamics as that seen in the Roseto Effect described in the 1960’s and may be related to the differing effect of curanderismo in these areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEmergence: Complexity and Organization
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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