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Impact of economic crisis on mental health of migrant workers: what happened with migrants who came to Spain to work?



To assess changes in mental health in a sample of migrant workers after the eruption of the economic crisis in Spain.


318 migrant workers were interviewed. Mental health, sociodemographic, and economic crisis related variables were obtained through face-to-face (2008) and phone (2011) interviews. Prevalence of poor mental health (PMH) was compared (2011–2008) and multivariate logistic regression models were fitted.


Change in prevalence of PMH was higher in men (aOR 4.63; 95 % CI 2.11–10.16). Subgroups of men showing the largest detrimental mental health effects were: unemployed, with low salaries (≤1,200 euros) and those reporting family burden. An increase of PMH was found in women, without significant associations.


Mental health of migrant workers in Spain has worsened during the economic crisis.

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The authors would like to thank all the individuals from the different cities that agreed to take part in this study and David Freudenthal for the initial framework for the construction of this manuscript. This work was supported by the Healthcare Research Fund of the Spanish Ministry of Health (PI11/01192).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Andrés A. Agudelo-Suárez.

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Agudelo-Suárez, A.A., Ronda, E., Vázquez-Navarrete, M.L. et al. Impact of economic crisis on mental health of migrant workers: what happened with migrants who came to Spain to work?. Int J Public Health 58, 627–631 (2013).

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  • Working conditions
  • Economic crisis
  • Migrants
  • Mental health
  • Spain