Examining Psychological Distress Across Intersections of Immigrant Generational Status, Race, Poverty, and Gender

Abstract

While many studies have documented the health outcomes of immigrants, little is known about the direct and intersectional influences of generational status on mental health. We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study using data from the California Health Interview Survey from 2015 to 2016 (N = 41,754) to compare the prevalence of psychological distress among first-generation immigrants and non-immigrants relative to second-generation immigrants, overall and across intersections of race, poverty status, and gender. Second-generation and non-immigrant respondents had a significantly higher prevalence (10.1% and 9.4%, respectively) of psychological distress compared to first-generation immigrants (5.9%). Prevalence ratios comparing first-generation to second-generation immigrants were suggestive of an association where first-generation immigrants had lower prevalence of psychological distress compared to second-generation, though not statistically significant (0.81, 95% Confidence interval 0.63, 1.04). Prevalence ratios of non-immigrants relative to second-generation immigrants were not statistically significant (1.12, 95% Confidence interval 0.84, 1.50).

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Bowleg, L. (2012). The problem with the phrase women and minorities intersectionality—An important theoretical framework for public health. American Journal of Public Health, 102(7), 1267–1273.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Burgos-Cienfuegos, R., Vasquez-Salgado, Y., Ruedas-Gracia, N., & Greenfield, P. M. (2015). Disparate cultural values and modes of conflict resolution in peer relations: The experience of Latino first-generation college students. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 37(3), 365–397.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Burns, J. K. (2015). Poverty, inequality and a political economy of mental health. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 24(02), 107–113.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. California Health Interview Survey 2015–2016 Sample Design. (2017).

  5. Crenshaw, K. (2005). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color (1994).

  6. Giguère, B., Lalonde, R., & Lou, E. (2010). Living at the crossroads of cultural worlds: The experience of normative conflicts by second generation immigrant youth. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4(1), 14–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hamilton, H. A., Noh, S., & Adlaf, E. M. (2009). Adolescent risk behaviours and psychological distress across immigrant generations. Canadian Journal of Public Health/Revue Canadienne de Sante'e Publique, 100, 221–225.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Harker, K. (2001). immigrant generation, assimilation, and adolescent psychological well-being. Social Forces, 79(3), 969–1004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Kessler, R. C., Andrews, G., Colpe, L. J., Hiripi, E., Mroczek, D. K., Normand, S. L.,..., & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2002). Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine32(6), 959–976.

  10. Kessler, R. C., Barker, P. R., Colpe, L. J., Epstein, J. F., Gfroerer, J. C., Hiripi, E.,..., & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60(2), 184–189.

  11. Kim, J., Nicodimos, S., Kushner, S. E., Rhew, I. C., Mccauley, E., & Stoep, A. V. (2018). Comparing mental health of US children of immigrants and non-immigrants in 4 racial/ethnic groups. Journal of School Health, 88(2), 167–175.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Kinser, P. A., & Lyon, D. E. (2014). A conceptual framework of stress vulnerability, depression, and health outcomes in women: Potential uses in research on complementary therapies for depression. Brain and Behavior, 4(5), 665–674.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Lara-Cinisomo, S., Xue, Y., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2013). Latino youths internalising behaviours: Links to immigrant status and neighbourhood characteristics. Ethnicity & Health, 18(3), 315–335.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Leong, F., Park, Y. S., & Kalibatseva, Z. (2013). Disentangling immigrant status in mental health: Psychological protective and risk factors among Latino and Asian American immigrants. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(2pt3), 361–371.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Lorant, V. (2003). Socioeconomic inequalities in depression: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Epidemiology, 157(2), 98–112. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwf182.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Mistry, R. S., Benner, A. D., Tan, C. S., & Kim, S. Y. (2009). Family economic stress and academic well-being among Chinese-American youth: The influence of adolescents’ perceptions of economic strain. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(3), 279.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Myers, H. F. (2009). Ethnicity-and socio-economic status-related stresses in context: An integrative review and conceptual model. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 32(1), 9–19.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Nadeem, E., Lange, J. M., Edge, D., Fongwa, M., Belin, T., & Miranda, J. (2007). Does stigma keep poor young immigrant and US-born black and Latina women from seeking mental health care? Psychiatric Services, 58(12), 1547–1554.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Peña, J. B., Wyman, P. A., Brown, C. H., Matthieu, M. M., Olivares, T. E., Hartel, D., et al. (2008). Immigration generation status and its association with suicide attempts, substance use, and depressive symptoms among latino adolescents in the USA. Prevention Science, 9(4), 299–310. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-008-0105-x.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Portes, A., Fernandez-Kelly, P., & Haller, W. (2005). Segmented assimilation on the ground: The new second generation in early adulthood. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28(6), 1000–1040.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Pumariega, A. J., Rothe, E., & Pumariega, J. B. (2005). Mental health of immigrants and refugees. Community Mental Health Journal, 41(5), 581–597.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ruiz, J. M., Hamann, H. A., Mehl, M. R., & O’Connor, M. F. (2016). The Hispanic health paradox: From epidemiological phenomenon to contribution opportunities for psychological science. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 19(4), 462–476.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. StataCorp. (2015). Stata statistical software: Release 14. College Station: StataCorp LP.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Trevelyan, E., Gambino, C., Gryn, T., Larsen, L., Acosta, Y., Grieco, E.,…, Walters, N. (2016). Characteristics of the U.S. population by generational status: 2013 (pp. 23–214, Rep.). U.S. Census Bureau.

  25. Viruell-Fuentes, E. A., Miranda, P. Y., & Abdulrahim, S. (2012). More than culture: Structural racism, intersectionality theory, and immigrant health. Social Science & Medicine, 75(12), 2099–2106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Williams, D. R., Neighbors, H. W., & Jackson, J. S. (2003). Racial/ethnic discrimination and health: Findings from community studies. American Journal of Public Health, 93(2), 200–208.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Zhang, W., & Ta, V. M. (2009). Social connections, immigration-related factors, and self-rated physical and mental health among Asian Americans. Social Science & Medicine, 68(12), 2104–2112.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Amanda Mancenido.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mancenido, A., Williams, E.C. & Hajat, A. Examining Psychological Distress Across Intersections of Immigrant Generational Status, Race, Poverty, and Gender. Community Ment Health J 56, 1269–1274 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-020-00584-w

Download citation

Keywords

  • Immigrant generation
  • Mental health
  • Intersectionality
  • Psychological distress