Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 1005–1013 | Cite as

Life satisfaction and health-related quality of life in immigrants and native-born Germans: the role of immigration-related factors

  • Yuriy NesterkoEmail author
  • Elmar Braehler
  • Gesine Grande
  • Heide Glaesmer



There is a lack of population-based studies on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and satisfaction with life (SWL) of immigrants compared to the native populations. Findings of previous research are inconclusive. Our study compares HRQoL and SWL in immigrants and native-born Germans, investigating immigration-related factors as suspected determinants of HRQoL and SWL in immigrants.


In the German Socio-economic panel from 2006, HRQoL (measured with the SF-12v2) and SWL as well as immigration-related factors were assessed in 21,079 subjects (including 2,971 immigrants). Analyses of variance were applied as statistical tests in our study.


Native-born Germans report a higher amount of SWL and of HRQoL on the physical health component compared to the immigrants. With effect sizes ranging from E² = 0.001 to 0.111, these findings are of minimal practical relevance. In immigrants, the physical health component of HRQoL is significantly associated with younger age at migration and with country of origin. As the effect sizes are extremely low, these findings have limited practical relevance.


There are small differences in SWL and HRQoL of immigrants and native-born Germans. Some immigration-related factors are related to HRQoL, but not to SWL. As immigrants are a quite heterogeneous group, it seems useful to focus on immigration-related factors, not simply comparing immigrants and the native-born. Our findings suggest that research on the association of immigration-related factors with quality of life in immigrants seems a promising approach to better identify subgroups of immigrants with lower levels of quality of life.


Immigration Health-related quality of life Satisfaction with life Country of origin Age at immigration Citizenship 



Effect size


Health-related quality of life




Mental health component summary scale of the SF-12v2


Physical health component summary scale of the SF-12v2


Quality of life


Standard deviation


Socio-economic panel


Satisfaction with life


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuriy Nesterko
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elmar Braehler
    • 1
  • Gesine Grande
    • 2
  • Heide Glaesmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Psychology and Medical SociologyUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Applied Social SciencesUniversity of Applied Sciences of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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