, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 5-15

The Health of Immigrant Women: Queensland Women from the Former Yugoslavia

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Abstract

A study of the social and health status of women from the former Yugoslavia was conducted in Queensland, Australia. Study participants were predominantly refugee women who had migrated to Australia between 1991 and 1996. A significant number of the women rated their health status as poor or fair. Most women did not perceive any change in health following migration, but more felt that their health had deteriorated than improved. Applying a social model of health, we explored the social contexts of countries of origin and destination that impact on women's health. We analyze how preimmigration trauma, settlement problems, health risk behaviors, and participation in screening programs affect women's health status and health needs. Data analysis indicated that government and nongovernment services can reduce the impact of preimmigration experience on health risk behaviors and poor health outcomes only to a limited degree. Since the low socioeconomic status of immigrants following immigration was identified by women as a main contributing factor to their poor health status, government support in tackling structural barriers in accessing the Australian labor market is essential to achieve positive health outcomes.