Advertisement

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 278–289 | Cite as

The Effect of Social Support on Psychological Flourishing and Distress Among Migrants in Australia

  • Daniel R. du PlooyEmail author
  • Anthony Lyons
  • Emiko S. Kashima
Original Paper

Abstract

We examine the access that culturally diverse migrant groups in Australia have to different sources of social support and how this access, or lack thereof, is associated with psychological flourishing and distress. A national online survey was conducted with 1334 migrants in Australia, examining 11 different sources of social support, including family, friends, relationship partner, acquaintances, work colleagues, health professionals, government agencies, community organisations, religious groups, social groups and online groups. We also examined migrants from different cultural groups. All sources of support were significantly associated with mental health, but somewhat differently for the dimensions of distress and flourishing. Flourishing was linked to higher support from all 11 sources, though not for all cultural groups. High psychological distress was linked to lower support only from family, friends, a partner, acquaintances, work colleagues and social groups, and only for some cultural groups. In particular, for distress, there was no link between migrants from Southern Asia and family support, as well as Confucian Asia groups and friend support. Understanding where migrants from different cultural origins draw their support from could help policymakers and support workers improve health and well-being in migrant populations, especially by focusing on sources of support that are linked to lower distress and greater flourishing, as indicated in this study.

Keywords

Social support Migrants Flourishing Distress Mental health 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Disclosure

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. 1.
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) National Migrant Statistics Unit (NMSU). https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3415.0Main+Features12012?O penDocument. Accessed 31 Aug 2015.
  2. 2.
    Cohen S, Wills TA. Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychol Bull. 1985;98:310–57.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.98.2.310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dorfman P, Javidan M, Hanges P, et al. GLOBE: a twenty year journey into the intriguing world of culture and leadership. J World Bus. 2012;47:504–18.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2012.01.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Eppsteiner H, Hagan J Religion as psychological, spiritual, and social support in the migration undertaking. Intersections of religion and migration. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; 2016.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fuligni AJ, Yip T, Tseng V. The impact of family obligation on the daily activities and psychological well-being of Chinese American adolescents. Child Dev. 2002;73:302–14.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Furukawa TA, Kessler RC, Slade T, Andrews G. The performance of the K6 and K10 screening scales for psychological distress in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. Psychol Med. 2003;33:357–62.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291702006700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gupta V, Surie G, Javidan M, Chhokar J. Southern Asia cluster: where the old meets the new? J World Bus. 2002;37:16–27.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1090-9516(01)00071-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Heine SJ, Lehman DR, Peng K, Greenholtz J. What’s wrong with cross-cultural comparisons of subjective Likert scales?: The reference-group effect. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002;82:903–18.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.82.6.903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hendrickson B, Rosen D, Aune RK. An analysis of friendship networks, social connectedness, homesickness, and satisfaction levels of international students. Int J Intercult Relations. 2011;35:281–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hernández-Plaza S, Alonso-Morillejo E, Pozo-Muñoz C. Social support interventions in migrant populations. Br J Soc Work. 2006;36:1151–69.  https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hogan BE, Linden W, Najarian B. Social support interventions: Do they work? Clin Psychol Rev. 2002;22:381–440.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0272-7358(01)00102-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hone LC, Jarden A, Schofield GM, Duncan S. Measuring flourishing: The impact of operational definitions on the prevalence of high levels of wellbeing. Int J Wellbeing. 2014;4:62–90.  https://doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v4i1.1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    House J. Structures and processes of social support. Annu Rev Sociol. 1988;14:293–318.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.14.1.293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    House R, Javidan M, Hanges P, Dorfman P. Understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe: an introduction to project GLOBE. J World Bus. 2002;37:3–10.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1090-9516(01)00069-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    House RJ, Dorfman PW, Javidan M, et al. Strategic leadership across cultures: GLOBE study of CEO leadership behavior and effectiveness in 24 countries. Los Angeles: Sage; 2014.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Huppert F, So TTC. Flourishing across Europe: application of a new conceptual framework for defining well-being. Soc Indic Res. 2013;110:837–61.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-011-9966-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jensen MP, Smith AE, Bombardier CH, et al. Social support, depression, and physical disability: age and diagnostic group effects. Disabil Health J. 2014;7:164–72.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2013.11.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Joshanloo M. Eastern conceptualizations of happiness: fundamental differences with western views. J Happiness Stud. 2014;15:475–93.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-013-9431-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kashima ES, Abu-Rayya HM. Longitudinal associations of cultural distance with psychological well-being among Australian immigrants from 49 countries. J Cross Cult Psychol. 2014;45:587–600.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022113519857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kashima Y, Koval P, Kashima ES. Reconsidering culture and self. Psychol Stud. 2011;56:12–22.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12646-011-0071-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kessler RC, Andrews G, Colpe LJ, et al. Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychol Med. 2002;32:959–76.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291702006074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Keyes C. (2010) Flourishing. Corsini Encycl Psychol 2009.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Keyes C. The mental health continuum: from languishing to flourishing in life. J Health Soc Behav. 2002;43:207–22.  https://doi.org/10.2307/3090197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kim HS, Sherman DK, Ko D, Taylor SE. Pursuit of comfort and pursuit of harmony: culture, relationships, and social support seeking. Personal Soc Psychol Bull. 2006;32:1595–607.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167206291991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kim HS, Sherman DK, Sasaki JY, et al. Culture, distress, and oxytocin receptor polymorphism (OXTR) interact to influence emotional support seeking. Natl Acad Sci. 2010;107:15717–21.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1010830107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kim HS, Sherman DK, Taylor SE. Culture and social support. Am Psychol. 2008;63:518–26.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kwak K, Berry JW. Generational differences in acculturation among Asian families in Canada: a comparison of Vietnamese, Korean, and East-Indian groups. Int J Psychol. 2001;36:152–62.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00207590042000119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lakey B, Orehek E. Relational regulation theory: a new approach to explain the link between perceived social support and mental health. Psychol Rev. 2011;118:482–95.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lassetter JH, Callister LC. The impact of migration on the health of voluntary migrants in western societies. J Transcult Nurs. 2009;20:93–104.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1043659608325841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lazarus RS, Folkman S. Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer; 1984.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mahmud SH, Schölmerich A. Acculturation and life satisfaction: Immigrants in Germany. Psychol Res. 2011;1:278–86.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Park J, Kitayama S, Karasawa M, et al. Clarifying the links between social support and health: culture, stress, and neuroticism matter. J Health Psychol. 2013;18:226–35.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105312439731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Peter PJ, de Mola CL, de Matos MB, et al. Association between perceived social support and anxiety in pregnant adolescents. Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2017;39:21–7.  https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2015-1806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Reblin M, Uchino BN. Social and emotional support and its implication for health. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2008;21:201–5.  https://doi.org/10.1097/YCO.0b013e3282f3ad89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sassatelli M. The shaping of a European cultural identity through EU cultural policy. Eur J Soc Theory. 2002;5:435–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Scott WA, Scott R. Adaptation of immigrants: individual differences and determinants. In: Argyle M, editor. Volume 18 of International series in experimental social psychology. Dordrecht: Elsevier; 2013. p. 227.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Siedlecki KL, Salthouse TA, Oishi S, Jeswani S. The relationship between social support and subjective well-being across age. Soc Indic Res. 2014;117:561–76.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-013-0361-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Stewart MJ, Makwarimba E, Beiser M, et al. Social support and health: immigrants’ and refugees’ perspectives. Divers Heal Care. 2010;7:91–103.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Taft R. Methodological considerations in the study of immigrant adaptation in Australia. Aust J Psychol. 1986;38:339–46.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00049538608259020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Taylor S, Welch W, Kim H, Sherman D. Cultural differences in the impact of social support on psychological and biological stress responses. Psychol Sci. 2007;18:831–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Taylor SE, Sherman DK, Kim HS, et al. Culture and social support: who seeks it and why? J Pers Soc Psychol. 2004;87:354–62.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.87.3.354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Triandis HC. The self and social behavior in differing cultural contexts. Psychol Rev Psychol Rev. 1989;96:506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Turner RJ. Social support as a contingency in psychological well-being. J Health Soc Behav. 1981;22:357.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2136677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Uchida Y, Kitayama S, Mesquita B, et al. Is perceived emotional support beneficial? Well-being and health in independent and interdependent cultures. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008;34:741–54.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167208315157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Westerhof GJ, Keyes CLM. Mental illness and mental health: The two continua model across the lifespan. J Adult Dev. 2010;17:110–9.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-009-9082-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel R. du Plooy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anthony Lyons
    • 1
  • Emiko S. Kashima
    • 2
  1. 1.Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, School of Psychology and Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and Counselling, School of Psychology and Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations