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Connectivity to home behaviors and their influence on depression among Legal Permanent Residents: Evidence from the New Immigrant Survey

Chadd, Phillippa Lauren (2012)
Master's Thesis (70 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Stephenson, Robert
Committee Members:
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health
Partnering Agencies: University, college or educational institution (other than Emory)
Keywords: Immigration; Immigrant; Mental Health; Depression; Connectivity to home; New Immigrant Survey
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Hubert Department of Global Health
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/br9v7

Abstract

Background: In the past, immigrants were thought to have better health outcomes across most conditions, including mental health. Recent studies have found that health status of immigrants in fact depends on a much wider range of factors; from the length of time the immigrant has lived in the country, to how difficult their pre-immigration experience was, to their region of origin, among others.

Objective: This study identifies connectivity to home covariates that are most strongly associated with self-reported depression among recent legal permanent resident status recipients in the United States.

Methods: Data for this research study were drawn from the 2003 New Immigrant Survey (NIS), which is a multi-cohort prospective-retrospective panel study of new legal immigrants and their children to the United States. Using logistic regression, I measured relationships between depression (respondent self-reported feeling sad, blue, or depressed for two weeks or more in a row during the last year) and a series of connectivity to home variables including: family unification, financial remittances/transfers, plans to visit home country in the next year, and possession of one or more assets/liabilities in the home country. In addition, a depression severity index was created, and linear regression was used to analyze its relationship to the same connectivity to home covariates. I controlled for demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, education, and region of origin in both models.

Results: The connectivity to home covariates that were significantly related to depression include: travel plans to home country in the next year, whether or not the respondent's spouse lived with him/her, engagement in financial transfers with at least one immediate family member in the home country, and age at first departure from country of origin. No connectivity covariates were significantly related to depression severity, although age and gender were significant.

Discussion: Maintaining connections to home through certain behaviors can be a risk factor for depression. These findings are useful for public health practitioners who design mental health interventions for immigrants and refugees in the United States.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction...1
Chapter 2: Review of the Literature
2.1 International Immigration to the United States...4
2.2 Health of immigrants in the United States...10
2.3 Mental health of immigrants in the United States...13
2.4 Migration and mental health...14
2.5 Connectivity to home...15
2.6 Acculturation and depression...21
2.7 Summary...23
Chapter 3: Methods and Results
3.1 New Immigrant Survey Study Design...25
3.2 Methods...31
3.3 Data Analysis...37
3.4 Results...38
Chapter 4: Discussion and Conclusion...51
References...58

Files

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