Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 49, Issue 10, pp 1557–1567 | Cite as

Ethnic density is not associated with psychological distress in Turkish-Dutch, Moroccan-Dutch and Surinamese-Dutch ethnic minorities in the Netherlands

  • Agnes C. Schrier
  • Jaap Peen
  • Matty A. S. de Wit
  • Erik J. C. van Ameijden
  • Özcan Erdem
  • Arnoud P. Verhoeff
  • Jack J. M. Dekker
  • Aartjan T. F. Beekman
Original Paper

Abstract

Purpose

Ethnic density, the proportion of people of the same ethnic group in the neighbourhood, has been identified as a protective factor with regard to mental health in ethnic minorities. Research on the putative intermediating factors, exposure to discrimination and improved social support, has not yielded conclusive evidence. We investigated the association between ethnic density and psychological well-being in three ethnic minority groups in the Netherlands. We also assessed whether a protective ethnic density effect is related to the degree to which each group experiences discrimination and social support at group level.

Methods

Using multi-level linear regression modelling, we studied the influence of ethnic density at neighbourhood level on psychological distress, measured with the Kessler Psychological Distress scale (K10), in 13,864 native Dutch, 1,206 Surinamese-Dutch, 978 Turkish-Dutch and 784 Moroccan-Dutch citizens of the four major cities in the Netherlands. Based on a nationwide survey among ethnic minorities on social integration, ethnic groups were ordered with respect to the intermediating factors.

Results

Ethnic density was not associated with psychological distress in any of the three ethnic minority groups. As a consequence, we found no support for either experiences of discrimination or for own-group social interactions at group level as intermediating factors. In all three ethnic minority groups, as well as in the native Dutch group, individual demographic and socio-economic factors emerged as the main explanations for individuals’ mental well-being.

Conclusions

These results suggest that individual demographic and socio-economic risk characteristics outweigh the influence of neighbourhood attributes on mental health.

Keywords

Mental health Ethnicity Population density Discrimination Social support 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agnes C. Schrier
    • 1
    • 9
  • Jaap Peen
    • 2
  • Matty A. S. de Wit
    • 3
  • Erik J. C. van Ameijden
    • 4
  • Özcan Erdem
    • 5
  • Arnoud P. Verhoeff
    • 3
    • 6
  • Jack J. M. Dekker
    • 7
  • Aartjan T. F. Beekman
    • 8
  1. 1.i-psy Intercultural PsychiatryUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Section Research and DevelopmentArkinAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology, Documentation and Health PromotionPublic Health Service AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Health Promotion and EpidemiologyMunicipal Health Service UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Public Health Service RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Department of Clinical Psychology VUHead Research Department ArkinAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Department Psychiatry, GGZinGeestVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  9. 9.Altrecht Institute for Mental HealthUtrechtThe Netherlands

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