English title: Depression in Europe: does migrant integration have mental health payoffs? A cross-national comparison of 20 European countries

Author(s): Katia Levecque - Ronan Van Rossem -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2015


Objectives: Depression is a leading cause of ill health and disability. As migrants form an increasing group in Europe, already making up about 8.7% of the population in 2010, knowledge on migrant-related inequalities in depression is of main public health interest. In this study, we first assess whether migrants in Europe are at higher risk for depression compared to the native population. Second, we assess whether the association between migration and depression is dependent on different forms of migrant integration. Migrant integration is looked at both from the individual and from the national level. Design: Hierarchical linear regression analyses based on data for 20 countries in the European Social Survey 2006/2007 (N = 37,076 individuals aged 15 or more). Depression is measured using the center for Epidemiologic Depression Scale. We consider migrant integration over time (first- and second-generation migrants, differentiated according to European Union (EU) or non-EU origin), barriers to integration (low educational level, financial difficulties, being out of the labor market, ethnic minority status, discrimination), and the host country environment (national migrant integration policy). Controls are gender, age, partner relationship, social support, and welfare state regime. Results: Natives and second-generation migrants do not differ significantly in their risk profile for depression. First-generation migrants show higher levels of depression, with those born outside of Europe to be the worst off. This higher risk for depression is not attributable to ethnic minority status but is mainly due to experienced barriers to socioeconomic integration and processes of discrimination. A country's national policy on migrant integration shows not to soften the depressing effect of being a first-generation migrant nor does it have indirect beneficial health effects by reducing barriers to integration. Conclusion: In Europe, first-generation EU and non-EU migrants experience higher levels of depression. Second-generation migrants and natives show similar risk profiles.

Volume: 20

Issue: 1

From page no: 49

To page no: 65

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1080/13557858.2014.883369

Journal: Ethnicity and Health

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