Highlights on Research on Immigration in AJO
Navarro-Lashayas, Migual Angel; Eiroa-Orosa, Francisco Jose. (2017). Substance use and psychological distress is related with accommodation status among homeless immigrants. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 87(1), 23-33.
Immigrant homelessness constitutes a cruel expression of social exclusion. We analyzed the relation of sociodemographic characteristics with stressful life events, substance use and psychological distress, giving a special importance to the influence of the time spent on the streets and the accommodation status of 107 homeless immigrants. To this end, both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were combined. Discussion groups with care resources practitioners and service users, were followed by in depth interviews combined with psychometric questionnaires. Results show clear interrelations between stressful life events, alcohol and drug use, psychological distress, and the duration of (current) homelessness. This information, and especially the contextualization which took place within the analytical framework of this project, may provide practitioners and policymakers with information that can help overcome barriers preventing homeless immigrants’ full citizenship and social participation.
Ellis, B. Heidi; Abdi, Saida M.; Lazarevic, Vanja; White, Matthew T.; Lincoln, Alisa K.; Stern, Jessica E.; Horgan, John G. (2016). Relation of psychosocial factors to diverse behaviors and attitudes among Somali refugees. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 86(4), 393-408.
Refugee studies have examined both resilience and adverse outcomes, but no research has examined how different outcomes co-occur or are distinct, and the social-contextual factors that give rise to these diverse outcomes. The current study begins to address this gap by using latent profile analysis to examine the ways in which delinquency, gang involvement, civic engagement, political engagement, and openness to violent extremism cluster among Somali refugees. We then use multivariable regression analyses to examine how adversity (e.g., discrimination, trauma, and marginalization) is associated with the identified latent classes. Data were collected from 374 Somali refugee young adults (Mage = 21.30 years, SD = 2.90, range 18–30, 38% female) from 4 different North American communities. Participants completed a structured survey assessing their experiences of adversity, delinquent and/or violent attitudes and behaviors (e.g., attitudes toward violent extremism, participation in delinquent behaviors, involvement in gangs), and positive outcomes (e.g., civic and political engagement). Our findings indicate that participants fall into 5 distinct groups, and that social-contextual and individual factors are uniquely related to those groups. Specifically, strong social bonds seem to be associated with positive outcomes. These findings point to the need to further examine both positive and negative outcomes, paying special attention to social–contextual factors.
Kaltman, Stacey; Hurtado de Mendoza, Alejandra; Serrano, Adriana; Gonzales, Felisa A. (2016). A mental health intervention strategy for low-income, trauma-exposed Latina immigrants in primary care: A preliminary study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry Vol 86(3), 345-354.
Latinos in the United States face significant mental health disparities related to access to care, quality of care, and outcomes. Prior research suggests that Latinos prefer to receive care for common mental health problems (e.g., depression and anxiety disorders) in primary care settings, suggesting a need for evidence-based mental health services designed for delivery in these settings. This study sought to develop and preliminarily evaluate a mental health intervention for trauma-exposed Latina immigrants with depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for primary care clinics that serve the uninsured. The intervention was designed to be simultaneously responsive to patients’ preferences for individual psychotherapy and to the needs of safety-net primary care clinics for efficient services and to address the social isolation that is common to the Latina immigrant experience. The resulting intervention, developed on the basis of findings from the research team’s formative research, incorporated individual and group sessions and combined evidence-based interventions to reduce depression and PTSD symptoms, increase group readiness, and improve perceived social support. Low-income Latina immigrant women (N = 28), who screened positive for depression and/or PTSD participated in an open pilot trial of the intervention at a community primary care clinic. Results indicated that the intervention was feasible, acceptable, and safe. A randomized controlled trial of theintervention is warranted.
Leijten, Patty; Raaijmakers, Maartje A. J.; Orobio de Castro, Bram; Matthys, Walter. (2016). Ethnic differences in problem perception: Immigrant mothers in a parenting intervention to reduce disruptive child behavior. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 86(3), 323-331.
Ethnic minority families in Europe are underrepresented in mental health care—a profound problem for clinicians and policymakers. One reason for their underrepresentation seems that, on average, ethnic minority families tend to perceive externalizing and internalizing child behavior as less problematic. There is concern that this difference in problem perception might limit intervention effectiveness. We tested the extent to which ethnic differences in problem perception exist when ethnic minority families engage in mental health service and whether lower levels of problem perception diminish parenting intervention effects to reduce disruptive child behavior. Our sample included 136 mothers of 3- to 8-year-olds (35% female) from the 3 largest ethnic groups in the Netherlands (43% Dutch; 35% Moroccan; 22% Turkish). Mothers reported on their child’s externalizing and internalizing behavior and their perception of this behavior as problematic. They were then randomly assigned to the Incredible Years parenting intervention or a wait list control condition. We contrasted maternal reports of problem perception to teacher reports of the same children. Moroccan and Turkish mothers, compared with Dutch mothers, perceived similar levels of child behavior problems as less problematic, and as causing less impairment and burden. Teacher problem perception did not vary across children from different ethnic groups. Importantly, maternal problem perception did not affect parenting intervention effectiveness to reduce disruptive child behavior. Our findings suggest that ethnic differences in problem perception exist once families engage in treatment, but that lower levels of problem perception do not diminish treatment effects.
Yazykova, Ekaterina; McLeigh, Jill D. (Sep 2015). Millennial children of immigrant parents: Transnationalism, disparities, policy, and potential. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 85(5, Suppl), S38-S44.
At 11% of their generational cohort, second-generation millennials account for the larger number of children of immigrants than any other generation before them. Second-generation millennials belong to a cohort that comprises about 80 million people, the largest cohort of young people that the United States has ever seen. The “creators” of the millennial generation, Neil Howe and William Strauss, proposed seven core millennials’ traits that are now overwhelmingly accepted as being factual: They are special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, achieving, and pressured. In contemporary discourse, millennials have been described as tech savvy, open to change, compassionate, inclusive, and politically active, but also self-centered and lacking attachment or direction. Although it is true that many second-generation millennials fit these descriptions and are doing as well financially and educationally as their nonimmigrant peers, a significant proportion are struggling. The diverse outcomes raise questions about why some children of immigrant parents fare better than others. If these factors can be identified, efforts can be undertaken to promote the wellbeing of these young adults.
Tummala-Narra, Pratyusha. (2015). Ethnic identity, perceived support, and depressive symptoms among racial minority immigrant-origin adolescents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 85(1), 23-33.
Although racial minority immigrant-origin adolescents compose a rapidly growing sector of the U.S. population, few studies have examined the role of contextual factors in mental health among these youth. The present study examined the relationship between ethnic identity and depressive symptoms, the relationship between perceived social support and depressive symptoms, and the relationship between sociodemographic factors (ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status) and depressive symptoms, among a culturally diverse group of adolescents. In addition, the potential moderating role of nativity status (U.S. born vs. foreign born) was examined in these associations. Participants were 9th and 10th graders (N = 341; 141 foreign born and 200 U.S. born, from Asian, Latino(a), and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds), attending an urban high school. Consistent with previous research, ethnic identity was negatively associated with depressive symptomatology in the overall sample. Nativity status did not moderate the relationship between ethnic identity and depressive symptoms. Among the sociodemographic factors examined, only gender was associated with depressive symptoms, with girls reporting higher levels of depressive symptoms compared with boys. Contrary to expectations, there were no differences in the degree of depressive symptomatology between U.S.-born and foreign-born adolescents, and perceived social support was not associated with fewer depressive symptoms. The findings suggest the importance of gender and ethnic identity in mental health and, more broadly, the complexity of social location in mental health outcomes among U.S.-born and foreign-born immigrant-origin adolescents. Implications for research and interventions with immigrant-origin adolescents are discussed.
Leong, Frederick; Park, Yong S.; Kalibatseva, Zornitsa. (2013). Disentangling immigrant status in mental health: Psychological protective and risk factors among Latino and Asian American immigrants. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 83(2-3), 361-371.
This study aimed to disentangle the psychological mechanisms underlying immigrant status by testing a model of psychological protective and risk factors to predict the mental health prevalence rates among Latino and Asian American immigrants based on secondary analysis of the National Latino and Asian American Study. The first research question examined differences on the set of protective and risk factors between immigrants and their U.S.-born counterparts and found that immigrants reported higher levels of ethnic identity, family cohesion, native language proficiency, and limited English proficiency than their U.S.-born counterparts. The second research question examined the effect of the protective and risk factors on prevalence rates of depressive, anxiety, and substance-related disorders and found that social networking served as a protective factor. Discrimination, acculturative stress, and family conflict were risk factors on the mental health for both ethnic groups. Clinical implications and directions for future research are provided.
Oxman‐Martinez, Jacqueline; Rummens, Anneke J.; Moreau, Jacques; Choi, Ye Ri; Beiser, Morton; Ogilvie, Linda; Armstrong, Robert. (2012). Perceived ethnic discrimination and social exclusion: Newcomer immigrant children in Canada. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 82(3), 376-388.
This article examines relationships between perceived ethnic discrimination, social exclusion, psychosocial functioning, and academic performance among newcomer immigrant children from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines using a subsample from the New Canadian Children and Youth Study of children aged 11–13 years (1,053) living in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and the Prairies. Bivariate analysis showed that 25% of children reported being treated unfairly by peers and 14% by teachers because of who they are. Regression analyses revealed that perceived ethnic discrimination by peers and teachers was negatively related to children’s sense of social competence in peer relationships. Children’s self-esteem and sense of academic competence were negatively related to perceived discrimination by teachers. One in 5 children reported feeling like an outsider, with boys revealing higher levels of psychological isolation than girls. More than 1 in 10 were socially isolated and reported never participating in organized activities. This may reflect economic exclusion, as over one third of respondents belonged to families living below the Canadian Income Adequacy Measure. Psychological isolation, social isolation, and economic exclusion were significant predictors of children’s sense of academic competence and actual academic grades. Variations exist across age, sex, ethnicity, family structure, parental education, region of settlement, and length of time since arrival in Canada.