International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 357–371 | Cite as

Poorer self-perceived health among migrants and ethnic minorities versus the majority population in Europe: a systematic review

Review

Abstract

Objectives

Knowledge about self-perceived health can help us understand the health status and needs among migrants and ethnic minorities in the European Union (EU) which is essential to improve equity and integration. The objective was to examine and compare self-perceived health among migrant and ethnic minority groups in the EU countries.

Methods

Publications were ascertained by a systematic search of PUBMED and EMBASE. Eligibility of studies was based on the abstracts and the full texts. Additional articles were identified via the references. The final number of studies included was 17.

Results

Publications were identified in 5 out of the 27 EU countries. In regard to self-perceived health, most migrants and ethnic minority groups appeared to be disadvantaged as compared to the majority population even after controlling for age, gender, and socioeconomic factors. Only limited cross-country comparisons could be carried out, still they revealed a parallel pattern of self-perceived health among similar migrant/ethnic minority groups.

Conclusions

Policies to improve social and health status, contextual factors, and access to healthcare among migrants and ethnic minorities are essential to reduce ethnic inequalities in health.

Keywords

Migrants Ethnic minorities Self-perceived health Health status Europe Review 

References

  1. Agyemang C, Denktas S, Bruijnzeels M, Foets M (2006) Validity of the single-item question on self-rated health status in first generation Turkish and Moroccans versus native Dutch in the Netherlands. Pub Health 120:543–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhopal R (2004) Glossary of terms relating to ethnicity and race: for reflection and debate. J Epidemiol Community Health 58:441–445CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Borrell C, Muntaner C, Sola J, Artazcoz L, Puigpinos R, Benach J, Noh S (2008) Immigration and self-reported health status by social class and gender: the importance of material deprivation, work organisation and household labour. J Epidemiol Community Health 62:e7CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bos V, Kunst AE, Keij-Deerenberg IM, Garssen J, Mackenbach JP (2004) Ethnic inequalities in age- and cause-specific mortality in the Netherlands. Int J Epidemiol 33:1112–1119CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Burstrom B, Fredlund P (2001) Self-rated health: is it as good a predictor of subsequent mortality among adults in lower as well as in higher social classes? J Epidemiol Community Health 55:836–840CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Cagney KA, Browning CR, Wen M (2005) Racial disparities in self-rated health at older ages: what differences does the neighborhood make? J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 60:S181–S190PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Chandola T (2001) Ethnic and class differences in health in relation to British South Asians: using the new National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification. Soc Sci Med 52:1285–1296CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Chandola T, Jenkinson C (2000) Validating self-rated health in different ethnic groups. Ethn Health 5:151–159CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooper H (2002) Investigating socio-economic explanations for gender and ethnic inequalities in health. Soc Sci Med 54:693–706CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Desesquelles AF, Egidi V, Salvatore MA (2009) Why do Italian people rate their health worse than French people do? An exploration of cross-country differentials of self-rated health. Soc Sci Med 68:1124–1128CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. European Community Health Indicators Monitoring (2008) Self-perceived health—definition of indicatorGoogle Scholar
  12. Fang J, Madhavan S, Alderman MH (1996) The association between birthplace and mortality from cardiovascular causes among black and white residents of New York City. N Engl J Med 335:1545–1551CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Fylkesnes K (1993) Determinants of health care utilization—visits and referrals. Scand J Soc Med 21:40–50PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Hjern A, Haglund B, Persson G, Rosen M (2001) Is there equity in access to health services for ethnic minorities in Sweden? Eur J Pub Health 11:147–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Idler EL, Benyamini Y (1997) Self-rated health and mortality: a review of twenty-seven community studies. J Health Soc Behav 38:21–37CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Iglesias E, Robertson E, Johansson SE, Engfeldt P, Sundquist J (2003) Women, international migration and self-reported health. A population-based study of women of reproductive age. Soc Sci Med 56:111–124CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Jurges H (2007) True health vs response styles: exploring cross-country differences in self-reported health. Health Econ 16:163–178CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Jylha M, Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L, Jokela J, Heikkinen E (1998) Is self-rated health comparable across cultures and genders? J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 53:S144–S152PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kaplan GA, Goldberg DE, Everson SA, Cohen RD, Salonen R, Tuomilehto J, Salonen J (1996) Perceived health status and morbidity and mortality: evidence from the Kuopio ischaemic heart disease risk factor study. Int J Epidemiol 25:259–265CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Konig HH, Bernert S, Angermeyer MC, Matschinger H, Martinez M, Vilagut G, Haro JM, de Girolamo G, de Graaf G, Kovess V, Alonso J (2009) Comparison of population health status in six European countries: results of a representative survey using the EQ-5D questionnaire. Med Care 47:255–261CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Koochek A, Montazeri A, Johansson SE, Sundquist J (2007) Health-related quality of life and migration: a cross-sectional study on elderly Iranians in Sweden. Health Qual Life Outcomes 5:60CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Leao TS, Sundquist J, Johansson SE, Sundquist K (2009) The influence of age at migration and length of residence on self-rated health among Swedish immigrants: a cross-sectional study. Ethn Health 14:93–105CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Lindstrom M, Sundquist J, Ostergren PO (2001) Ethnic differences in self-reported health in Malmo in southern Sweden. J Epidemiol Community Health 55:97–103CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Lorant V, Van OH, Thomas I (2008) Contextual factors and immigrants’ health status: double jeopardy. Health Place 14:678–692CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. MEHO (2009) Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health Observatory. http://www.meho.eu.com
  26. Mohseni M, Lindstrom M (2008) Ethnic differences in anticipated discrimination, generalised trust in other people and self-rated health: a population-based study in Sweden. Ethn Health 13:417–434CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Padilla B, Miguel JP (2007) Health and migration in the EU: building a shared vision for action. LisbonGoogle Scholar
  28. Pudaric S, Sundquist J, Johansson SE (2003) Country of birth, instrumental activities of daily living, self-rated health and mortality: a Swedish population-based survey of people aged 55–74. Soc Sci Med 56:2493–2503CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Robertson E, Iglesias E, Johansson SE, Sundquist J (2003) Migration status and limiting long-standing illness: a longitudinal study of women of childbearing age in Sweden. Eur J Pub Health 13:99–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Singhammer J (2008) Ethnic minorities’ health. The Partnership, Region Midtjylland, pp 30–43Google Scholar
  31. Stirbu I, Kunst AE, Bos V, Mackenbach JP (2006) Differences in avoidable mortality between migrants and the native Dutch in The Netherlands. BMC Pub Health 6:78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stronks K, Ravelli AC, Reijneveld SA (2001) Immigrants in the Netherlands: equal access for equal needs? J Epidemiol Community Health 55:701–707CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Sungurova Y, Johansson SE, Sundquist J (2006) East-west health divide and east-west migration: self-reported health of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in Sweden. Scand J Pub Health 34:217–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Taloyan M, Johansson LM, Johansson SE, Sundquist J, Kocturk TO (2006) Poor self-reported health and sleeping difficulties among Kurdish immigrant men in Sweden. Transcult Psychiatry 43:445–461CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Taloyan M, Johansson SE, Sundquist J, Kocturk TO, Johansson LM (2008) Psychological distress among Kurdish immigrants in Sweden. Scand J Pub Health 36:190–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. United Nations (2009) World Migrant Stock: The 2005 Revision Population DatabaseGoogle Scholar
  37. Villadsen SF, Mortensen LH, Andersen AM (2009) Ethnic disparity in stillbirth and infant mortality in Denmark 1981–2003. J Epidemiol Community Health 63:106–112CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Wiking E, Johansson SE, Sundquist J (2004) Ethnicity, acculturation, and self-reported health. A population based study among immigrants from Poland, Turkey, and Iran in Sweden. J Epidemiol Community Health 58:574–582CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Wild S, McKeigue P (1997) Cross sectional analysis of mortality by country of birth in England and Wales, 1970–92. BMJ 314:705–710PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. World Health Organisation (1946) WHO Constitution. http://www.who.int/governance/eb/constitution/en/index/html

Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section for Health Services Research, Department of Public HealthUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark

Personalised recommendations