Publication Date

2010-05-12

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2010-04-26

First Committee Member

Jomills Braddock - Committee Co-Chair

Second Committee Member

Robert Johnson - Committee Co-Chair

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Aranda - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Krysia Mossakowski - Committee Member

Abstract

This study examines how the migration experience affects the mental health status of recent Asian and Latin American/Caribbean immigrants. It analyzes the relationship between stress among immigrants and their adaptation patterns. Specifically, this study focuses on the psycho-social transition processes associated with migration, examining how disruption of cultural norms, and restructured lifestyle may lead to stress, or other mental health difficulties. In addition, this study highlights "transnationalism," a newly defined adaptation pattern of recent immigrants, especially among Latin immigrants. It focuses on "transnational activity" as a potential mediator of the relationship between immigration stressors and mental health outcomes among recent migrants from Asia and Latin America/Caribbean countries. Previous research has been largely dedicated to two aspects of immigrants' mental health status, post-traumatic stress disorder and acculturative related stress. This study includes both aspects, focusing on both the context of exit and the context of reception to analyze the factors associated with immigrants' mental health problems. Based on previous research, this study incorporates various theories and concepts, including stress theory, acculturation theory, the life course perspective and transnationalism to establish a synthetic model to explain mental health problems. Using the first wave data from New Immigrant Survey, this study includes a broad range of variables, employs logistic regression to examine the effects of pre-migration experiences and post-migration trajectories on symptoms of depression and distress among Asian and Latin American/Caribbean immigrants. Statistical results show that in general Asian immigrants have slightly better mental health than Latino/Caribbean immigrants. Socioeconomic status, gender, pre-migration persecution, social support, acculturation, transnationalism, and sub-ethnicity all predict symptoms of depression among immigrants with the exception of the age at arrival in the U.S. The effects of factors examined in this study vary slightly across ethnic groups. Future research should use longitudinal data in order to track the long-term effects and the patterns of immigrants' incorporation and their mental health status. In addition, the development of more synthetic theories and key concepts are suggested to better understand how the post migration trajectories of each sub-ethnic group within Asian and Latino/Caribbean immigrants' populations are related with their mental health status.

Keywords

Immigrants; Asian; Latino; Mental Health; Transnationalism

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