Arati Maleku

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Vijayan K Pillai


This dissertation examines the overlapping effects of structural vulnerabilities that arise from individual’s position in a society translated through gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, and marital status on the well-being of immigrants in the United States. Despite the increasing understanding of migration as a gendered process, research in this area is still limited to gender and/or women ignoring class, ethnicity, or race as relevant axes of structural disadvantage and differentiation. This empirical study addresses this lacuna in knowledge via two objectives: (1) advance a conceptual and methodological model of health and migration that integrates a gendered perspective drawing interconnections, interdependence, and interlocking of essentialist categories such as class, race, and ethnicity as the categories of disadvantage, and (2) contribute to a theoretically-based empirical foundation for social work research that examines structural factors to move beyond cultural explanations of immigrant health research. Using a complex survey analysis of the California Health Interview Survey 2012, this study examined the incremental variance of social and intermediary determinants of health on immigrant well-being. Results showed that effect of moderated relationships between structural vulnerability factors are significant predictors of immigrant well-being and this is conditional based on gender, race, class, age, and marital status. This dissertation is distinct in advancing the application of intersectionality, vulnerability, and the social determinants of health perspectives in immigrant health research, policy, and praxis. Knowledge gathered from this study will contribute not only to the knowledge base for development of policies and programs for immigrants, but for the benefit of overall population to achieve health equity. Consistent with the movement toward framing the health equity discourse in the United States, this dissertation study contributes to the paradigm shift in social work’s conceptualization of health equity and in tandem, assist in the creation of a fertile field of inquiry for social work research and practice.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons