Perceived Discrimination and Religiosity as Potential Mediating Factors Between Migration and Depressive Symptoms: A Transnational Study of an Indigenous Mayan Population
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Evidence suggests that in the US perceived discrimination among migrants of Mexican origin is associated with depressive symptoms. Factors that confer resilience, such as religiosity, could serve as a mediating factor in the context of migration stressors. We hypothesized that migration is associated with higher depressive symptoms and that discrimination and religiosity would mediate this relationship in a binational (US and Mexican) sample of indigenous Mexican migrants. We applied path analysis modeling to test our hypotheses with a sample of 650 individuals (n = 583 in Mexico; n = 67 in US). Results indicated that migration experience and current US residence were associated with perceived discrimination, which in turn were associated with a higher risk for depressive symptoms. Among women not living in the US, religiosity was associated with lower perceived discrimination. Discrimination is pervasive among male and female transnational and domestic migrants and religiosity may serve as a protective factor against discrimination for some women.
KeywordsMigration Mental health Discrimination Maya Religiosity Social support
We would like to thank the community of Tunkás and Tunkaseños in Mexico and the US for their trust, sincerity, and guidance in making this work possible. This research was supported by the Research Program on Migration and Health (Programa de Investigación en Migración y Salud, PIMSA Cycle 2011–2012), the Health Initiative of the Americas, the University of California, the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, México.
Conflict of interest
The authors state no conflict of interest.
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