Birds of Feather Flock Together – and Fall Ill?: Migrant Homophily and Health in Sweden
2010 (English)In: Sociology of Health and Illnes, ISSN 0141-9889, E-ISSN 1467-9566, Vol. 32, no 3, 382-399 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Although studies show that health inequities between ethnic groups exist, few have expressed interest in the origins of these disparities. As homophily (the phenomenon that people principally form relationships with those who are similar to them) influences people’s norms and interactions, it might be an important property of migrants’ networks, and have implications on their health. The aim of this study is to examine health inequities between natives and immigrants in Sweden and the health consequences arising from participation in homogenous migrant networks. Using total population registers and representative survey data initial analyses show that migrants experience poorer health than native Swedes. The findings further suggest that homophily is a prominent feature of migrant social networks and that migrants in networks with a high proportion of other migrants experience poorer health than those who include a high proportion of natives in their networks. However, unhealthy behaviour and disadvantaged social conditions may account for a considerable share of their excess risk. Hence, network closure may reinforce and maintain norms leading to negative behaviour and social conditions in such networks.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 32, no 3, 382-399 p.
homophily, health inequity, migrant, networks, ethnicity
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24824DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2009.01196.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24824DiVA: diva2:198384