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


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).

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Correspondence to Amanda Mancenido.

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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).

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  • Immigrant generation
  • Mental health
  • Intersectionality
  • Psychological distress