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Lecture 5

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2P10 Immigration and Mental Health  Why study immigrant mental health?  Canada, like other immigrant receiving countries, relies on immigrants for population growth and to meet its labour needs  Mental illness is expected to become the second most important cause of global disease burden in the next century  SO: the mental health of immigrants should be of importance Immigration: Historical Context  Traditional theories (assimilation): [pre WWII]  The immigrant -> “marginal man” o Stress of migration and the alienation from the dominant culture due to both discrimination and cultural and linguistic differences  Process of accumulation and time in the host country -> improvement of the immigrant’s mental health Immigration: Contemporary Research  Contemporary research (healthy immigrant effect) -- post 1965 o Immigrants have similar mental health to that of the native born to begin with or “health immigrant” effect o The process of acculturation in itself, over time and generation, has a deleterious effect on the mental health of the foreign born Immigration  Regardless of the predicted trajectory: o Both perspectives on immigration posit that the mental health of immigrants will converge to that of no difference with the majority population Helath Immigrant Effect  Due to a two sided self-selection process (Schiffaur 1991): o The chronically ill and disabled are less likely to migrate o Migrants are thought to be particularly courageous, innovative and socially skilled individuals who choose to leave the life they knew behind and venture to a new and foreign land  Immigration policy can also indirectly encourage positive mental health selection o Point system in Canada -> immigrants who are well-educated, employed, parents, and married, thus indirectly affecting the mental health profile of the immigrant population Canadian Research 2P10  Dearth of scholarly research that examines the mental health of the foreign born  Jennifer Ali (2002) o She compares immigrants with the Canadian-born population in terms of depression and alcohol dependence o Uses data from the 2000/2001 Canadian Community Health Suvery (CCHS) o Over 92000 individuals between the age of 15-75 o Findings  Support for health immigrant effect  Recent immigrants had lower rates of depression and alcohol dependence than the native born  Immigrants who had been in Canada between 10-14 years or over 20 years reported the same rates of depression than the Canadian born  All immigrants who had arrived in Canada at least 20 years ago had lower rates of alcohol dependence than the Canadian born  Healthy immigrant effect to due to English or French proficiency, employment status, or sense of belonging Montazer and Wheaton  Examine the mental health trajectory of children of immigrants  Previous research: o Findings on the mental health of children of immigrants by generation are mixed o Measurement of generation: 2 generation vs true 2 generation st o Generation treated generally – just look at effect of generation and lumping 1 generation kids, for example, together without taking into account country of birth of child or that of parents  Propose: o Generational differences are not enough o A conditional model of adaptation Conditional Adaptation Model  The adjustment process will be modified by the origin/destination similarity of the level of GNP per capita at the time of immigration o So effect of generation on mental health is conditional on the level of economic development of country of origin of parents Why level of economic development of country of origin?  A broad signal of fundamental differences, not only in standards of living, but also in employment and educational opportunities  Focus on the GNP of countries of origin as a basic indicator of socioeconomic development o GNP -> it’s a measure that goes back far enough 2P10 Main Prediction  A negative mental health trajectory starting from initial mental health advantage in the first generation and evolving to later generation mental health disadvantage will only apply to children from the most contrasting countries of origin  Children of immigrants from origins similar to the host country of Canada will not differ from third (or greater) generation Canadian children, both initially and across generation Why?  Findings from studies on immigration and mental health show that immigrants reporting the least psychological problems are those from countries that are the least similar in terms of economy and culture to the host country and not those that are most similar to the host country  So if this is the case, then only children from least similar countries of origin will experience a trajectory in mental health over generation Sample  Children between the ages of 9 to 16 living in intact families  Information from each parent and child’s birth place and year of immigration was used to create 9 groups: o First generation: low, mid, high o Second generation: low, mid, high o Two point five generation low, mid, high  Mental health outcomes: children internalizing and externalizing problems Findings:  Generation is not enough  Need to consider the level of economic development of country of origin to better specif
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