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Lecture 5

SOCI 2P00 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Scale-Invariant Feature Transform, Marginal Man, Monopsony

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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
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
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

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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: 2nd generation vs true 2nd generation
o Generation treated generally just look at effect of generation and lumping 1st
generation kids, for example, together without taking into account country of birth of
child or that of parents
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
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