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Migrants & Displaced Persons

HomeTopicsMigrants & Displaced Persons

Who’s affected?


People immigrate for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they leave their country of origin or residence by choice. Other times, they flee as refugees or are forcibly displaced by violence, persecution, economic instability, food insecurity, and/or climate change.

According to the United Nations, the number of migrants—persons living in a country other than where they were born—reached 281 million worldwide in 2020.

Of these 281 million, there are approximately 82.4 million people forcibly displaced. Within that number, 26.4 million (32%) are considered refugees and 35 million (42%) are children under the age of 18. About half are women and girls.

The issue of immigration brings with it complex social and political concerns, which the Global Alliance addresses in light of our unique lens: the intersection of social justice, behavioral health, and human rights at the individual, systemic, and population levels. When it comes to the issue of immigration, we are engaged in advocating for immigration reform within the United States and committed to protecting the human rights and promoting behavioral health and well-being for all migrants and displaced persons.

Migrants & Displaced Persons Task Force

Learn more about the work of our task force and how you can get involved.

U.S. Immigration Reform

Approximately 44.9 million immigrants, about 13.7% of the country’s population, lived in the United States as of 2019. With each wave of immigrants that arrives, political and social debates arise, and immigration policies change with each new administration. We want to remain on the forefront of advocating for policy reform that reflects our organizational priorities.

In 2010, the Global Alliance adopted a position statement on the impact of immigration enforcement on children and families. The statement calls for the development of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that incorporates family-centered policies which promote family unity. Subsequent work has continued to emphasize the need for immigration policies to protect children and prioritize families. In June 2021, for example, we released two policy resolutions addressing flaws in the asylum-seeking process in the U.S. – one advocating for quick and comprehensive family reunification and the other calling for the protection of human rights and dignity for families seeking asylum.

Promoting behavioral health and well-being

Refugees and others forcibly displaced from their homes are at higher risk for developing mental health conditions due to previous trauma, such as war, violence, poverty, and/or the stress of migration. Moreover, once refugees arrive at camps or their host countries, they often face adverse situations and ongoing stressors, which also affect their mental health.

Forced migration requires multiple adaptations in short periods of time. People – especially, but not only, children – become more vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Pre-existing social and mental health problems can be exacerbated. For example, if the reception of refugees and the provision of protection and assistance undermine human dignity, discourage mutual support, and/or create dependency, mental health problems may be induced or aggravated. An acute sense of urgency among people on the move may prompt them to take extreme medical and psychosocial risks, and their fast-paced mobility through several countries leaves little time for health care.

What can you do?

  • Join the Global Alliance Migrants and Displaced Persons Task Force.
  • Learn more about the history of immigration and current policies in the United States.
  • Make immigrants living in your community feel welcome.
  • Visit the Welcoming Refugees website and learn how you can become a part of a growing movement of communities seeking to reduce barriers refugees face in their host countries.
  • Support organizations that help refugees in your community, such as a local refugee resettlement center.
  • Advocate for policies that will help prevent individuals and families from having to flee their countries and that will continue to expand humanitarian assistance.

Research on Migrants and Displaced Persons in AJO


Psychological distress prevalence and associated stressors and supports among urban-displaced Congolese adults in Kenya

Abstract

Background: There is limited understanding of the prevalence of psychological distress and associated stressors and supports among displaced adults in low- and middle-income first asylum countries. Method: This article reports the findings of a cross-sectional study. We recruited 245 Congolese adults (18–80 years) residing in Nairobi, Kenya using snowball sampling. Data were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire consisting of sociodemographic characteristics, the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20), and a locally developed stressors and supports survey. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine associations among sociodemographic, stressor, and support variables and the likelihood of experiencing psychological distress. Results: More than half of the participants (52.8%) reported symptoms indicative of psychological distress. Factors associated with increased psychological distress included perceiving to have a useful role in one’s family or community, AOR = 1.85; 95% CI [1.1.17, 3.11], p = .012, feeling confused or not knowing what to do, AOR = 2.13; 95% CI [1.20, 4.6], p = .014, and feeling afraid to leave home for medical/health care to help with an illness, AOR = 1.57; 95% CI [1.17, 2.15], p < .01. Additionally, ethnic Banyamulenge Congolese adults without legal refugee status had an increased likelihood of experiencing psychological distress, AOR = .07; 95% CI [0, .74], p = .035. Conclusion: Future research is warranted to understand how to implement targeted mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) to improve urban-displaced adults’ sense of safety and belonging. Our findings suggest that legal refugee status is an important structural determinant of mental health, which should be considered in MHPSS practice and policy.

Citation

Tippens, J. A., Hatton-Bowers, H., Honomichl, R., Wheeler, L. A., Miamidian, H. M., Bash, K. L., Howell Smith, M. C., Nyaoro, D., Byrd, J. J., Packard, S. E., & Teufel-Shone, N. I. (2021). Psychological distress prevalence and associated stressors and supports among urban-displaced Congolese adults in Kenya. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Advance online publication.

Interpreters working in mental health settings with refugees: An interdisciplinary scoping review

Abstract

The consequences of language barriers are some of the most fundamental challenges refugees and asylum seekers face, undermining both the accessibility of mental health services and the quality of the services received. This scoping review provides the first synthesis of research on interpreters working in mental health settings with refugees, one of the most prominent yet understudied strategies to improving language access and the cultural appropriateness of services for this unique population. Comprehensive searches were conducted in APA PsycInfo, Medline, Web of Science, Social Services Abstracts CAIRN, and Erudit for relevant journal articles and book chapters published up to April 2019. A total of 84 peer-reviewed studies met the inclusion criteria. Publications represented a range of disciplines including social work, linguistics, psychology, anthropology, public health, medicine, psychiatry, and nursing. Six thematic areas were identified: (1) Lack of adequate interpretation as barrier to care; (2) Emotional impact of interpreting on the interpreter; (3) Training and supervision; (4) Impact of the interpreter on the process of psychotherapy/mental health intervention; (5) The impact of the interpreter on the intervention outcome; and (6) The role of the interpreter. The results indicate that despite undeniable challenges, including concerns around confidentiality and bias, when clinicians and refugee clients do not share proficiency in a common language, interpreters have a positive impact on refugee clients’ quality of care and clinical outcomes. The implications of these findings for host countries providing mental health services for refugees globally are considered and recommendations offered.

Citation

Fennig, M., & Denov, M. (2021). Interpreters working in mental health settings with refugees: An interdisciplinary scoping review. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 91(1), 50–65.

Community readiness in the Syrian refugee community in Jordan: A rapid ecological assessment tool to build psychosocial service capacity

Abstract

The knowledge of Syrian psychosocial activists in displaced communities is an invaluable resource for developing an ecological understanding of community needs and attitudes. This may elucidate the structural challenges of displacement to be addressed in psychosocial interventions. During Phase 1 of the study, we employed the community readiness model—a tool to assess community climate, needs, and resources—to determine community capacity-building needs. Eight Syrian key informants were interviewed in Amman, Jordan (December 2013 to January 2014). Community readiness scores were calculated. Thematic analysis explored community identified needs. During Phase 2, a focus group was conducted with 11 local psychosocial workers in Amman (September 2016) employing Phase 1 findings to develop a local capacity-building intervention. For the Phase 1 results, community attitudes toward mental health were reported to be rapidly changing. However, continued stigma, lack of knowledge of service availability, and insufficient number of services were noted as barriers to care. Sense of civic engagement and cultural knowledge of local psychosocial actors were noted as significant strengths. However, lack of access to work rights and technical supervision were identified as contributing to burnout, undermining the sustainability of local, grassroots initiatives. A need for training in clinical interventions, along with ongoing supervision, was identified. For the Phase 2 results, local psychologists elected to receive training in culturally adapted cognitive behavior therapy and operational capacity building. The cultural and contextual knowledge of Syrian community members are invaluable. Unfortunately, failure to provide these professionals with basic work rights and technical support have undermined the sustainability of their endeavors.

Citation

Wells, R., Abo-Hilal, M., Steel, Z., Hunt, C., Plested, B., Hassan, M., & Lawsin, C. (2020). Community readiness in the Syrian refugee community in Jordan: A rapid ecological assessment tool to build psychosocial service capacity. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90(2), 212–222.

A group mental health randomized controlled trial for female refugees in Malaysia

Abstract

Forcibly displaced persons confront multiple stressors while awaiting permanent asylum or resettlement and often experience high levels of emotional distress. This study assessed an 8-week somatic-focused culturally adapted cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) group intervention with 39 female refugees from Afghanistan living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Twenty-nine participants were randomly assigned to treatment conditions, resulting in 20 participants in two separate treatment groups and 9 in a waitlist control group. An additional 10 participants were not randomly assigned and therefore were treated as an additional treatment group and analyzed separately. A three-group piecewise linear growth model was specified in Mplus using Bayesian estimation. Dependent variables included emotional distress, anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress, and social support. From baseline to posttreatment assessments, initial intervention participants experienced significant declines in emotional distress (b = −16.90, p < .001), anxiety (b = −.80, p < .001), depression (b = −.59, p < .001), and posttraumatic stress (b = −.24, p < .05). Gains were maintained three months posttreatment, with similar trends observed among nonrandomized participants. Subsequent to receiving treatment, the waitlist control participants also showed significant declines in emotional distress (b = −20.88, p < .001), anxiety (b = −1.10, p < .001), depression (b = −.79, p < .001), and posttraumatic stress scores (b = −.82, p < .001). Comparing the treatment groups to the waitlist control group revealed large effect sizes: Cohen’s d was 2.14 for emotional distress, 2.31 for anxiety, 2.42 for depression, and 2.07 for posttraumatic stress. Relevant public health findings include low drop out, group format, and facilitation by a trained community member.

Citation

Shaw, S. A., Ward, K. P., Pillai, V., & Hinton, D. E. (2019). A group mental health randomized controlled trial for female refugees in Malaysia. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(6), 665–674.

Ethnographic case study of a community day center for asylum seekers as early stage mental health intervention

Abstract

Clinical guidelines in refugee mental health increasingly advocate phased approaches to intervention that foreground the provision of pragmatic and social support in contexts of ongoing instability. However, the impact of such interventions has rarely been explored from the perspective of refugees themselves. We conducted ethnographic research on the experiences and perceptions of users of an intervention embodying this approach: a community Day Center for asylum seekers in Montreal. Data comprising 15 interviews and field notes from 50 participant observation visits were analyzed using an established theoretical framework to identify mechanisms supporting self-perceived wellbeing among users in the domains of safety, social networks, justice, identity/roles, and existential meaning. Results shed light on how this nonspecific buffering intervention responds to the threats and pressures asylum seekers themselves identify as most salient in the immediate postflight context. These findings are discussed in relation to emerging theoretical frameworks in refugee mental health that emphasize agency, justice, and the role of local ecologies. We conclude that the Day Center shows significant promise as an innovative early stage mental health intervention for precarious status migrants and merits further research and evaluation.

Citation

Chase, L. E., & Rousseau, C. (2018). Ethnographic case study of a community day center for asylum seekers as early stage mental health intervention. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(1), 48-58.

Understanding the mental health consequences of family separation for refugees: Implications for policy and practice

Abstract

Consistent evidence documents the negative impacts of family separation on refugee mental health and concerns for the welfare of distant family members and desire to reunite with family members as priorities for refugees postmigration. Less is known about refugees’ emic perspectives on their experiences of family separation. Using mixed methods data from a community-based mental health intervention study, we found that family separation was a major source of distress for refugees and that it was experienced in a range of ways: as fear for family still in harm’s way, as a feeling of helplessness, as cultural disruption, as the greatest source of distress since resettlement, and contributing to mixed emotions around resettlement. In addition to these qualitative findings, we used quantitative data to test the relative contribution of family separation to refugees’ depression/anxiety symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and psychological quality of life. Separation from a family member was significantly related to all 3 measures of mental health, and it explained significant additional variance in all 3 measures even after accounting for participants’ overall level of trauma exposure. Relative to 26 other types of trauma exposure, family separation was 1 of only 2 traumatic experiences that explained additional variance in all 3 measures of mental health. Given the current global refugee crisis and the need for policies to address this large and growing issue, this research highlights the importance of considering the ways in which family separation impacts refugee mental health and policies and practices that could help ameliorate this ongoing stressor.

Citation

Miller, A., Hess, J. M., Bybee, D., & Goodkind, J. R. (2018). Understanding the mental health consequences of family separation for refugees: Implications for policy and practice. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(1), 26-37.

Acculturation and post-migration psychological symptoms among Iraqi refugees: A path analysis

Abstract

Refugees frequently experience symptoms of posttraumatic stress and depression, which impede their acculturation in the new host country where they are resettling. There are few longitudinal studies investigating predictors of mental health and acculturation during the early postmigration period. We conducted a longitudinal study of 298 Iraqi refugees, assessing them upon arrival to the U.S. and 1 year after migration. Premigration trauma was associated with increased PTSD and depressive symptoms at baseline, and with decreased acculturation 1 year later. Resilience was associated with depressive symptoms at 1-year follow-up, but not with other resettlement outcomes (PTSD symptoms, English-language skills, or acculturation). PTSD and depressive symptoms at baseline predicted the same symptoms at 1-year follow-up, but not any other resettlement outcomes. The number of chronic diseases at baseline predicted worse PTSD and depressive symptoms, acculturation, and English language skills at 1-year follow up. Postmigratory exposure to daily stressors and less social support predicted worse 1-year outcomes. Results suggest that interventions that aim to improve mental health and promote acculturation among refugees should assess their history of trauma, chronic disorders, and psychological symptoms soon after migration, and promptly provide opportunities for social support.

Citation

LeMaster, J. W., Broadbridge, C. L., Lumley, M. A., Arnetz, J. E., Arfken, C., Fetters, M. D., Jamil, H., Pole, N., & Arnetz, B. B. (2018). Acculturation and post-migration psychological symptoms among Iraqi refugees: A path analysis. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(1), 38–47.

Relation of psychosocial factors to diverse behaviors and attitudes among Somali refugees

Abstract

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.

Citation

Ellis, B. H., Abdi, S. M., Lazarevic, V., White, M. T., Lincoln, A. K., Stern, J. E., & Horgan, J. G. (2016). Relation of psychosocial factors to diverse behaviors and attitudes among Somali refugees. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(4), 393-408.

Family first: Community-based supports for refugees

Abstract

This article presents a community-based approach that targets family interventions and services through a preventive, family systems ecological framework. A public health approach is used to emphasize the need for a tiered model of family support that builds on the strengths of refugee families while recognizing their specific needs and challenges. The rationale for a family systems ecological perspective is presented to highlight the critical features of effective family support programs for refugee families, followed by a discussion regarding the transitions and adaptation faced by refugee families when entering the United States. Finally, a public-health problem solving model is employed to promote a comprehensive vision for how more effective support can be developed to best serve the mental health needs of refugee families. An integrated case example highlighting the Somali Parent Program, a family-focused intervention, is also provided.

Citation

Pejic, V., Hess, R. S., Miller, G. E., & Wille, A. (2016). Family first: Community-based supports for refugees. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(4), 409–414.

Relation of psychosocial factors to diverse behaviors and attitudes among Somali refugees

Abstract

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 Somalirefugees. 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.

Citation

Ellis, B. H., Abdi, S. M., Lazarevic, V., White, M. T., Lincoln, A. K., Stern, J. E., & Horgan, J. G. (2016). Relation of psychosocial factors to diverse behaviors and attitudes among Somali refugees. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(4), 393–408.

Associations of adult separation anxiety disorder with conflict-related trauma, ongoing adversity, and the psychosocial disruptions of mass conflict among West Papuan refugees

Abstract

Refugees commonly experience traumatic events that threaten the self and close others, suggesting the possibility that they may experience overlapping symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and separation anxiety disorder (SAD). We examine this possibility among West Papua refugees (n = 230) displaced to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. We also examine associations between the combined PTSD−SAD construct and indices of past trauma exposure, ongoing adversity, and the psychosocial disruptions caused by mass conflict and displacement. We applied culturally adapted interview modules to assess symptoms of PTSD, SAD, traumatic events (TEs), ongoing adversity, and 5 psychosocial dimensions. Latent class analysis identified a PTSD class (23%), a posttraumatic (PT) SAD class (22%), and a low-symptom class (55%). Compared with the low-symptom class, both the PTSD and PT−SAD classes endorsed higher levels of exposure to all domains of TEs (conflict -related trauma, witnessing murder, childhood related adversities, traumatic losses, and health stress) and ongoing adversity (access to health care, displacement/separation, safety in the community, and access to basic needs), but the 2 comorbid groups did not differ on these indices. The PT−SAD class alone scored higher than the low-symptom reference class in relation to disruptions to the psychosocial domains (safety/security, bonds/network, access to justice, roles/identities, existential meaning) and higher than the PTSD class on safety/security, justice and roles/identities. Our findings suggest that the PT−SAD pattern may represent a response to the most severe forms of psychosocialdisruptions of mass conflict among refugees. A focus on separation anxiety may enhance psychotherapies designed to treat PTSD in refugees.

Citation

Tay, A.; Rees, S.; Kareth, M.; & Silove, D. (2016). Associations of adult separation anxiety disorder with conflict-related trauma, ongoing adversity, and the psychosocial disruptions of mass conflict among West Papuan refugees. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(2), 224-235.

Differential accounts of refugee and resettlement experiences in youth with high and low levels of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology: A mixed-methods investigation

Abstract

In recent years there has been increased debate and critique of the focus on psychopathology in general, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in particular, as a predominant consequence of the refugee experience. This study was conducted to broaden the conceptualization and examination of the outcomes of the refugee experience by jointly examining how adaptive processes, psychosocial factors, and psychopathology are implicated. A mixed-methods approach was used to specifically examine whether adolescents’ (N = 10) accounts of their refugee and resettlement experiences differed according to their level, “high” or “low,” of PTSD symptomatology. The superordinate themes of cultural belongingness and identification, psychological functioning, family unit functioning and relationships, and friendships and interpersonal processes, were identified as having particular relevance for the study’s participants and in distinguishing between participants with high and low levels of PTSD symptomatology. Findings were characterized by marked differences between adolescents’ accounts according to their symptomatology levels, and may thereby inform important avenues for future research as well as clinical prevention and intervention programs with refugee youth.

Citation

McGregor, L.; Melvin, G.; & Louise, K. (2015). Differential accounts of refugee and resettlement experiences in youth with high and low levels of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology: A mixed-methods investigation. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(4), 371-381.

Understanding Bhutanese refugee suicide through the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior

Abstract

Attention has been drawn to high rates of suicide among refugees after resettlement and in particular among the Bhutanese refugees. This study sought to understand the apparent high rates of suicide among resettled Bhutanese refugees in the context of the Interpersonal- Psychological Theory of Suicidal Behavior (IPTS). Expanding on a larger investigation of suicide in a randomly selected sample of Bhutanese men and women resettled in Arizona, Georgia, New York, and Texas (Ao et al., 2012), the current study focused on 2 factors, thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness, examined individual and post migration variables associated with these factors, and explored how they differed by gender. Overall, factors such as poor health were associated with perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness. For men, stressors related to employment and providing for their families were related to feeling burdensome and/or alienated from family and friends, whereas for women, stressors such as illiteracy, family conflict, and being separated from family members were more associated. IPTS holds promise in understanding suicide in the resettled Bhutanese community.

Citation

Ellis, B.; Lankau, E.; Ao, T.; Benson, M.; Miller, A.; Shetty, S.; Lopes Cardozo, B.; Geldmann, P.; & Cochran, J. (2015). Understanding Bhutanese refugee suicide through the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(1), 43-55.

The relative impacts of uncertainty and mothers’ communication on hopelessness among Palestinian refugee youth

Abstract

The life of adolescent refugees has been described as uncertainty laden. Yet no quantitative data exist to elucidate that experience of uncertainty, investigate its implications in that population, or explore potential moderators. This study applies the Entropy Model of Uncertainty (Hirsh, Mar, & Peterson, 2012) and the stress‐buffering hypothesis (for review, see Hegelson, 2003) to examine the experience of uncertainty among adolescent Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon. It then tests the role of mothers’ uncertainty‐related communication for adolescent hopelessness. One hundred and sixty‐two adolescents across 2 refugee camps in Lebanon participated in the study. Results support the existence of elevated levels of uncertainty about both personal and macrosecurity, show an association between uncertainty regarding personal security and levels of hopelessness, and suggest that uncertainty’s negative impact may overwhelm the role of mothers’ supportive communication as a buffer against hopelessness. Interestingly, the data also suggest surprisingly little hopelessness in this population.

Citation

Afifi, W.; Afifi, T.; Robbins, S.; & Nimah, N. (2013). The relative impacts of uncertainty and mothers’ communication on hopelessness among Palestinian refugee youth. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(4), 495-504.

Parental styles in the intergenerational transmission of trauma stemming from the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia

Abstract

The impact of parental styles in intergenerational transmission of trauma among mothers who survived the KhmerRouge regime in Cambodia, in power from 1975 to 1979, and their teenaged children was examined in 2 studies. In Study 1, 46 Cambodian female high school students and their mothers were recruited. Each daughter completed anxiety and depression measures as well as assessment of her mother’s role‐reversing, overprotective, and rejecting parental styles, whereas the mothers completed measures of their trauma exposure during the Khmer Rouge regime and PTSD symptoms. In support of trauma transmission, the mother’s PTSD symptoms were predictive of her daughter’s anxiety. Moreover, the mother’s role‐reversing parental style was shown to mediate the relationship between her own and her daughter’s symptoms. In support of their generalizability, the results were replicated in Study 2 in a Cambodian‐American refugee sample comparing 15 mental health treatment‐seeking mothers and their teenaged children with 17 nontreatment‐seeking mother–child pairs. The implications of the findings within the larger literature on intergenerational trauma transmission stemming from genocide are discussed.

Citation

Field, N.; Muong, S.; & Sochanvimean, V. (2013). Parental styles in the intergenerational transmission of trauma stemming from the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(4), 483-494.

A longitudinal study of demographic factors associated with stressors and symptoms in African refugees

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to assess differences in premigration, transit, and resettlement stressor exposure and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as a function of demographic characteristics (i.e., gender, ethnicity, age, time in United States) and to examine the concurrent and longitudinal relations between stressor exposure and PTSD symptoms. The sample consisted of adult (18–78 years) Somali and Oromo refugee men and women (N = 437). Qualitative data regarding participants’ self‐nominated worst stressors collected at Time 2 (T2) informed the development of quantitative scales assessing premigration, transit, and resettlement stress created using items collected at Time 1 (T1). PTSD symptoms were measured at both T1 and T2. Quantitative analyses showed that levels of stressor exposure and PTSD symptoms differed as a function of refugee demographic characteristics. For example, Oromo, more recent, women, and older refugees reported more premigration and resettlement stressors. Oromo refugees and refugee men reported more PTSD symptoms in regression analyses with other factors controlled. Premigration, transit, and resettlement stressor exposure generally was associated with higher PTSD symptom levels. Results underscore the importance of assessing stress exposure comprehensively throughout the refugee experience and caution against overgeneralizing between and within refugee groups.

Citation

Perera, S.; Gavian, M.; Frazier, P.; Johnson, D.; Spring, M.; Westermeyer, J.; Butcher, J.; Halcon, L.; Robertson, C.; Savik, K.; & Jaranson, J. (2013). A longitudinal study of demographic factors associated with stressors and symptoms in African refugees. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(4), 472-482.

Discrimination and mental health among Somali refugee adolescents: The role of acculturation and gender

Abstract

This study examines the role of social identity (acculturation and gender) in moderating the association between discrimination and Somali adolescent refugees’ mental health. Participants were English‐speaking Somali adolescent refugees between the ages of 11 and 20 (N = 135). Perceived discrimination, trauma history, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive symptoms, and behavioral acculturation were assessed in structured interviews. Fourteen in‐depth qualitative interviews and 3 focus groups were also conducted. Results indicated that discrimination was common and associated with worse mental health. For girls, greater Somali acculturation was associated with better mental health. Also, the association between discrimination and PTSD was less strong for girls who showed higher levels of Somali acculturation. For boys, greater American acculturation was associated with better mental health, and the association between discrimination and depression was less strong for boys with higher levels of American acculturation.

Citation

Ellis, B.; MacDonald, H.; Klunk-Gillis, J.; Lincoln, A.; Strunin, L.; & Cabral, H. (2010). Discrimination and mental health among Somali refugee adolescents: The role of acculturation and gender. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(4), 564-575.

Review of refugee mental health interventions following resettlement: best practices and recommendations

Abstract

There are increasing numbers of refugees worldwide, with approximately 16 million refugees in 2007 and over 2.5 million refugees resettled in the United States since the start of its humanitarian program. Psychologists and other health professionals who deliver mental health services for individuals from refugee backgrounds need to have confidence that the therapeutic interventions they employ are appropriate and effective for the clients with whom they work. The current review briefly surveys refugee research, examines empirical evaluations of therapeutic interventions in resettlement contexts, and provides recommendations for best practices and future directions in resettlement countries. The resettlement interventions found to be most effective typically target culturally homogeneous client samples and demonstrate moderate to large outcome effects on aspects of traumatic stress and anxiety reduction. Further evaluations of the array of psychotherapeutic, psychosocial, pharmacological, and other therapeutic approaches, including psychoeducational and community‐based interventions that facilitate personal and community growth and change, are encouraged. There is a need for increased awareness, training and funding to implement longitudinal interventions that work collaboratively with clients from refugee backgrounds through the stages of resettlement.

Citation

Murray, K.; Davidson, G.; & Schweitzer, R. (2010). Review of refugee mental health interventions following resettlement: best practices and recommendations. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(4), 576-85.

Latinx/@ immigrant inclusion trajectories: Individual agency, structural constraints, and the role of community-based organizations in immigrant mobilities

Abstract

Immigration is at the forefront of national, state, and local policy struggles in the United States, and Latinx/@ immigrants have experienced increased deportations, detention, and individual threats. A mobilities perspective allows analysis to extend our view of migration beyond frameworks confined to pre- and postmigration, examining trajectories of social inclusion and exclusion that are influenced by multiple factors in the receiving country. The Immigrant Well-being Project, a community-based participatory research project involving university faculty, students, staff, and representatives from 4 community-based organizations (CBOs), was initiated in New Mexico in 2017 to better understand and promote Latinx/@ immigrant mental health and integration by creating change at multiple levels. We began these efforts by conducting an in-depth study of the mental health needs, stressors, current socioeconomic, legal, and political context, and local solutions as experienced by 24 Latinx/@ immigrants and their mixed status families. Five trajectories of immigrant integration emerged: continuous exclusion, simultaneous exclusion and inclusion, continuous inclusion, movement from exclusion to inclusion, and movement from inclusion to exclusion. These diverse mobilities were shaped by participants’ social locations, agency, and experiences with CBOs, which played critical roles in creating, maintaining, and/or transforming immigrants’ trajectories. However, CBOs could not completely buffer immigrants from the current hostile climate and related stressors that resulted in experiences of exclusion or movement from inclusion to exclusion. These findings add to understandings of immigrant mental health, complex ongoing mobility, and mechanisms of resilience and resistance within the United States and have important implications for policy and practice.

Citation

Vasquez Guzman, C. E., Hess, J. M., Casas, N., Medina, D., Galvis, M., Torres, D. A., Handal, A. J., Carreon-Fuentes, A., Hernandez-Vallant, A., Chavez, M. J., Rodriguez, F., & Goodkind, J. R. (2020). Latinx/@ immigrant inclusion trajectories: Individual agency, structural constraints, and the role of community-based organizations in immigrant mobilities. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90(6), 772–786.

Acculturation processes and mental health of Asian Indian women in the United States: A mixed-methods study

Abstract

Acculturation theories and research find that both new culture acquisition and heritage culture attachment are associated with positive outcomes. However, gender-related analyses are rare. In this mixed-method study of 73 Asian Indian American women who were first- or second-generation immigrants from Kerala, India, those classified as behaviorally bicultural, assimilated, separated, or marginalized did not differ significantly in well-being. Being older and married was related to higher self-esteem; unmarried women reported more Kerala attitudinal marginalization. With age, marital status, immigrant generation, and both cultural behavioral orientations controlled, Kerala attitudinal marginalization (but not Anglo attitudinal marginalization) correlated moderately with both lower self-esteem and more severe depressive symptoms. Content analysis of open-ended question data suggested associations among more intricate and multifaceted acculturation processes and psychological well-being via the rewards and challenges the women described. Attaining the “best of both worlds” that some mentioned meant selective adoption and rejection of facets of each culture: family connectedness and control, freedom and moral decline, opportunity, and discrimination. For these women, status-related characteristics (being younger and single representing lower status), discrimination experiences, and attitudinal rejection of their heritage culture (although it accords women lower status than men) had negative psychological outcomes.

Citation

Joseph, A., Jenkins, S. R., Wright, B., & Sebastian, B. (2020). Acculturation processes and mental health of Asian Indian women in the United States: A mixed-methods study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90(4), 510–522.

Changes in social status and postmigration mental health among West African immigrants

Abstract

Immigration comes with rapid changes in social status that have effects on mental health. Research with nonimmigrant populations has identified relevant social status indicators, but these indicators are not sufficient to address changes that are uniquely relevant to immigrants. This study aimed to identify social status indicators that change during the process of migration and to examine their association with distress using variable- and person-centered analyses. We used data from an archival dataset of West African immigrants in New York City. Pre- and postmigration changes across work, marriage, language use, urbanism, and residency status were used to assess whether positive, negative, or no change in social status had occurred. Changes in social status indicators across migration were predicted to account for variance in mental health outcomes (i.e., anxiety, depression, somatization, and posttraumatic stress) beyond premigration potentially traumatic events (PTE). Several social status indicators predicted wellbeing in this population and accounted for variance in distress beyond premigration PTEs. Ward’s method clustering suggested that 3 distinct social status profiles were characterized primarily by changes in work and marriage. The cluster with the greatest positive changes in work was almost all female and had the highest depression scores. These findings suggest that the impact of change in social status across immigration is not uniform across social status indicators. Additionally, changing gender roles across migration appear to have an influential impact on postmigration social status and mental health.

Citation

Ahmed, S., & Rasmussen, A. (2020). Changes in social status and postmigration mental health among West African immigrants. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90(2), 171–180.

Acculturation in the discourse of immigrants and receiving community members: Results from a cross-national qualitative study

Abstract

This study explores the bidirectional and interactional process of acculturation from the perspectives of immigrants and receiving community members (RCMs). Our aim was to understand the experiences and interactions of different ethno-cultural groups and their impact on the functioning and dynamics of multicultural communities. We conducted a cross-national, cross-cultural study of acculturation processes, using interviews collected across two countries (Italy: urban regions of Torino and Lecce; U.S.: Baltimore/Washington corridor) and three distinct groups of immigrants—Moroccans and Albanians in Italy and Latin Americans in the United States—and RCMs in Italy and the United States. Findings show that acculturation is a complex, situated, and dynamic process, and is generally conceived as an unbalanced and individual process of accommodation, which expects the immigrant alone to adapt to the new context. The boundaries among traditionally explored acculturation strategies were blurred and while integration was the most frequently discussed strategy, it often referenced a “soft” assimilation, limited mostly to public domains. Some differences emerged between ethnic groups and generation of immigration as well as among RCMs who differed by level of contact with immigrants. The need for more flexible models and for a critical perspective on acculturation is discussed.

Citation

Fedi, A., Mannarini, T., Brodsky, A., Rochira, A., Buckingham, S., Emery, L., Godsay, S., Scheibler, J., Miglietta, A., & Gattino, S. (2019). Acculturation in the discourse of immigrants and receiving community members: Results from a cross-national qualitative study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(1), 1–15.

“Fewer but not weaker”: Understanding the intersectional identities among Chinese immigrant young gay men in Toronto

Abstract

Sexual minorities of color in North America are frequently defined as a “double minority” group. Intersectionality theory has inspired investigations into how different forms of marginalization intersect to shape the lives of people with multiple minority statuses. In this constructivist grounded theory study, 18 Chinese immigrant gay men between 18 and 28 years of age participated in a semistructured individual interview to narrate their lived experiences in relation to their intersectional identities. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed through a constant comparative method. Several themes emerged from the data. First, study participants perceived their sexual identity as either compatible with or irrelevant to their cultural identity and did not experience negotiating conflicts between their sexual and cultural identities. Second, the intersectionality was context-specific. Study participants experienced a certain form of marginalization in the contexts of disclosing their gay identity and finding a dating partner within a gay community. Third, participants considered the label double minority oversimplified and derogatory. They emphasized that their daily lives were in a complex power structure that was constituted by more than two identity categories. The marginalization based on their ethnic and sexual identities weighed differently and should not be understood as simple math. Last, despite carrying the status of minority, these gay men indicated that their intersectional identities served as a source of social support. This study contributes to the knowledge base around intersectionality by uncovering its qualitative nuance and bringing to light its contextual specificity. Practice, policy, and research implications are provided.

Citation

Huang, Y.-T., & Fang, L. (2019). “Fewer but not weaker”: Understanding the intersectional identities among Chinese immigrant young gay men in Toronto. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(1), 27-39.

Rethinking the acculturation gap-distress theory among Asian Americans: Testing bidirectional indirect relations

Abstract

The acculturation gap-distress theory postulates that parent–offspring acculturation mismatch precipitates greater intergenerational conflict in immigrant families, which in turn increases the risk for psychological problems among offspring. Whereas cross-sectional studies have shown support for these theory-informed relations, comparatively little is known about whether acculturation mismatch negatively affects psychological functioning, or whether offspring’s psychological problems precipitate greater perceived acculturation mismatch via intergenerational cultural conflict. Furthermore, more research is needed to investigate how acculturation and family conflict affect Asian Americans transitioning into college and emerging adulthood. Across two measurement occasions, two cohorts of Asian American first-year college students (N = 555, Mage = 17.99, 56.0% women) completed survey questionnaires assessing their perception of parent–offspring acculturation discrepancies, acculturation-related intergenerational conflict, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. For both sets of psychological functioning, gender invariant structural equation models testing the bidirectional relations demonstrated adequate fit for the data. In the case of externalizing symptoms, acculturation mismatch marginally significantly predicted subsequent intergenerational conflict, but acculturation mismatch did not predict externalizing symptoms via intergenerational cultural conflict. By contrast, offspring’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms respectively predicted greater self-reported intergenerational cultural conflict, which in turn predicted perceived parent–offspring acculturation mismatch over time. These indirect relations suggested that both internalizing and externalizing symptoms indirectly contributed to greater acculturation mismatch through the presence of intergenerational cultural conflict, but data did not support the acculturation gap-distress theory. Theoretical and clinical implications as they pertain to Asian American emerging adults are discussed.

Citation

Lui, P. P. (2019). Rethinking the acculturation gap-distress theory among Asian Americans: Testing bidirectional indirect relations. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(6), 627–639.

The role of religious attendance on mental health among Mexican populations: A contribution toward the discussion of the immigrant health paradox

Abstract

In this study, we conducted a path analysis on data from the National Latino and Asian American Study to investigate the role of religious attendance on mental health among Mexican populations. Using data from 868 Latinos of Mexican origin, we further investigated the extent to which religious attendance mediated the direct path between generation status and lifetime prevalence rates of any substance use disorder, depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder. Results indicate that Mexican immigrants endorsed lower lifetime prevalence rates of depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder and endorsed higher levels of religious attendance. Second, results indicate a significant negative relationship between religious attendance and prevalence rates for depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder. Third, results indicate that religious attendance was a mediator for the relationship between generation status and the lifetime prevalence rates of substance use disorder only. These results provide a contribution toward the discussion of the immigrant health paradox and further highlight the role that religious attendance plays in the relationship between generational status and the lifetime prevalence rates of substance use disorder.

Citation

Moreno, O., & Cardemil, E. (2018). The role of religious attendance on mental health among Mexican populations: A contribution toward the discussion of the immigrant health paradox. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(1), 10–15.

Providing social services in a new immigrant settlement city: A qualitative inquiry

Abstract

Nationally, a new trend in migration has included the settlement of Latina/o immigrants in cities without an established community of Latinas/os. Social services become even more salient in this context in the absence of informal social networks of support. This study, guided by social ecological theory, advances our limited understanding of social services in new immigrant settlement destinations by elucidating contextual and structural factors endemic to the social service delivery process in these new immigrant destinations. Twenty-nine social service providers who work with Latina/o immigrants in Baltimore were interviewed and Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR; Hill, Thompson, & Nutt Williams, 1997) methods were used to analyze data through consensus and the use of multiple data “auditors.” Findings extend our understanding of the context of social services in a new immigrant settlement city by identifying qualitative factors related to the new immigrant settlement, organization and work, community, and client level that impact access and quality of services. A theoretically driven conceptual framework adapted from the Structural Environmental conceptual framework (Organista, 2007) is also proposed to explain the transactional interconnectedness among structural-, environmental-, and client-level factors in the social service delivery process.

Citation

Negi, N. J., Maskell, E., Goodman, M., Hooper, J., & Roberts, J. (2018). Providing social services in a new immigrant settlement city: A qualitative inquiry. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(1), 16–25.

Substance use and psychological distress is related with accommodation status among homeless immigrants

Abstract

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.

Citation

Navarro-Lashayas, M. A., & Eiroa-Orosa, F. J. (2017). Substance use and psychological distress is related with accommodation status among homeless immigrants. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 87(1), 23–33.

A mental health intervention strategy for low-income, trauma-exposed Latina immigrants in primary care: A preliminary study

Abstract

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 post-traumatic 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 the intervention is warranted.

Citation

Kaltman, S., Hurtado de Mendoza, A., Serrano, A., & Gonzales, F. A. (2016). A mental health intervention strategy for low-income, trauma-exposed Latina immigrants in primary care: A preliminary study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(3), 345–354.

Ethnic differences in problem perception: Immigrant mothers in a parenting intervention to reduce disruptive child behavior

Abstract

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.

Citation

Leijten, P., Raaijmakers, M. A. J., Orobio de Castro, B., & Matthys, W. (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.

Millennial children of immigrant parents: Transnationalism, disparities, policy, and potential

Abstract

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.

Citation

Yazykova, E., & McLeigh, J. D. (2015). Millennial children of immigrant parents: Transnationalism, disparities, policy, and potential. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(5, Suppl), S38–S44.

Ethnic identity, perceived support, and depressive symptoms among racial minority immigrant-origin adolescents

Abstract

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.

Citation

Tummala-Narra, P. (2015). Ethnic identity, perceived support, and depressive symptoms among racial minority immigrant-origin adolescents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(1), 23–33.

Disentangling immigrant status in mental health: Psychological protective and risk factors among Latino and Asian American immigrants

Abstract

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.

Citation

Leong, F., Park, Y. S., & Kalibatseva, Z. (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.

Perceived ethnic discrimination and social exclusion: Newcomer immigrant children in Canada

Abstract

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.

Citation

Oxman‐Martinez, J., Rummens, A. J., Moreau, J., Choi, Y. R., Beiser, M., Ogilvie, L., & Armstrong, R. (2012). Perceived ethnic discrimination and social exclusion: Newcomer immigrant children in Canada. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(3), 376–388.

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