Highlights on Research on Immigration in AJO

Fedi, A., Mannarini, T., Brodsky, A., Rochira, A., Buckingham, S., Emery, L., . . . Gattino, S. (2019). Acculturation in the discourse of immigrants and receiving community members: Results from a cross-national qualitative study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(1), 1-15.

Abstract 

This study explores the bidirectional and interactional process of acculturation from the perspectives of immigrants and receiving community members (RCMs). Our aim was to understand the experiences and interactions of different ethno-cultural groups and their impact on the functioning and dynamics of multicultural communities. We conducted a cross-national, cross-cultural study of acculturation processes, using interviews collected across two countries (Italy: urban regions of Torino and Lecce; U.S.: Baltimore/Washington corridor) and three distinct groups of immigrants—Moroccans and Albanians in Italy and Latin Americans in the United States—and RCMs in Italy and the United States. Findings show that acculturation is a complex, situated, and dynamic process, and is generally conceived as an unbalanced and individual process of accommodation, which expects the immigrant alone to adapt to the new context. The boundaries among traditionally explored acculturation strategies were blurred and while integration was the most frequently discussed strategy, it often referenced a “soft” assimilation, limited mostly to public domains. Some differences emerged between ethnic groups and generation of immigration as well as among RCMs who differed by level of contact with immigrants. The need for more flexible models and for a critical perspective on acculturation is discussed.

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Huang, Y.-T., & Fang, L. (2019). “Fewer but not weaker”: Understanding the intersectional identities among Chinese immigrant young gay men in Toronto. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 89(1), 27-39.

Abstract 

Sexual minorities of color in North America are frequently defined as a “double minority” group. Intersectionality theory has inspired investigations into how different forms of marginalization intersect to shape the lives of people with multiple minority statuses. In this constructivist grounded theory study, 18 Chinese immigrant gay men between 18 and 28 years of age participated in a semistructured individual interview to narrate their lived experiences in relation to their intersectional identities. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed through a constant comparative method. Several themes emerged from the data. First, study participants perceived their sexual identity as either compatible with or irrelevant to their cultural identity and did not experience negotiating conflicts between their sexual and cultural identities. Second, the intersectionality was context-specific. Study participants experienced a certain form of marginalization in the contexts of disclosing their gay identity and finding a dating partner within a gay community. Third, participants considered the label double minority oversimplified and derogatory. They emphasized that their daily lives were in a complex power structure that was constituted by more than two identity categories. The marginalization based on their ethnic and sexual identities weighed differently and should not be understood as simple math. Last, despite carrying the status of minority, these gay men indicated that their intersectional identities served as a source of social support. This study contributes to the knowledge base around intersectionality by uncovering its qualitative nuance and bringing to light its contextual specificity. Practice, policy, and research implications are provided. 

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Lui, P. P. (2018). Rethinking the acculturation gap-distress theory among asian americans: Testing bidirectional indirect relations. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Advance online publication.

Abstract 

The acculturation gap-distress theory postulates that parent–offspring acculturation mismatch precipitates greater intergenerational conflict in immigrant families, which in turn increases the risk for psychological problems among offspring. Whereas cross-sectional studies have shown support for these theory-informed relations, comparatively little is known about whether acculturation mismatch negatively affects psychological functioning, or whether offspring’s psychological problems precipitate greater perceived acculturation mismatch via intergenerational cultural conflict. Furthermore, more research is needed to investigate how acculturation and family conflict affect Asian Americans transitioning into college and emerging adulthood. Across two measurement occasions, two cohorts of Asian American first-year college students (N = 555, Mage = 17.99, 56.0% women) completed survey questionnaires assessing their perception of parent–offspring acculturation discrepancies, acculturation-related intergenerational conflict, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. For both sets of psychological functioning, gender invariant structural equation models testing the bidirectional relations demonstrated adequate fit for the data. In the case of externalizing symptoms, acculturation mismatch marginally significantly predicted subsequent intergenerational conflict, but acculturation mismatch did not predict externalizing symptoms via intergenerational cultural conflict. By contrast, offspring’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms respectively predicted greater self-reported intergenerational cultural conflict, which in turn predicted perceived parent–offspring acculturation mismatch over time. These indirect relations suggested that both internalizing and externalizing symptoms indirectly contributed to greater acculturation mismatch through the presence of intergenerational cultural conflict, but data did not support the acculturation gap-distress theory. Theoretical and clinical implications as they pertain to Asian American emerging adults are discussed.

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Moreno, O., & Cardemil, E. (2018). The role of religious attendance on mental health among Mexican populations: A contribution toward the discussion of the immigrant health paradox. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(1), 10-15.

Abstract 

In this study, we conducted a path analysis on data from the National Latino and Asian American Study to investigate the role of religious attendance on mental health among Mexican populations. Using data from 868 Latinos of Mexican origin, we further investigated the extent to which religious attendance mediated the direct path between generation status and lifetime prevalence rates of any substance use disorder, depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder. Results indicate that Mexican immigrants endorsed lower lifetime prevalence rates of depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder and endorsed higher levels of religious attendance. Second, results indicate a significant negative relationship between religious attendance and prevalence rates for depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder. Third, results indicate that religious attendance was a mediator for the relationship between generation status and the lifetime prevalence rates of substance use disorder only. These results provide a contribution toward the discussion of the immigrant health paradox and further highlight the role that religious attendance plays in the relationship between generational status and the lifetime prevalence rates of substance use disorder.

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Negi, N. J., Maskell, E., Goodman, M., Hooper, J., & Roberts, J. (2018). Providing social services in a new immigrant settlement city: A qualitative inquiry. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(1), 16-25.

Abstract 

Nationally, a new trend in migration has included the settlement of Latina/o immigrants in cities without an established community of Latinas/os. Social services become even more salient in this context in the absence of informal social networks of support. This study, guided by social ecological theory, advances our limited understanding of social services in new immigrant settlement destinations by elucidating contextual and structural factors endemic to the social service delivery process in these new immigrant destinations. Twenty-nine social service providers who work with Latina/o immigrants in Baltimore were interviewed and Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR; Hill, Thompson, & Nutt Williams, 1997) methods were used to analyze data through consensus and the use of multiple data “auditors.” Findings extend our understanding of the context of social services in a new immigrant settlement city by identifying qualitative factors related to the new immigrant settlement, organization and work, community, and client level that impact access and quality of services. A theoretically driven conceptual framework adapted from the Structural Environmental conceptual framework (Organista, 2007) is also proposed to explain the transactional interconnectedness among structural-, environmental-, and client-level factors in the social service delivery process. 

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Navarro-Lashayas, Migual Angel; Eiroa-Orosa, Francisco Jose.  (2017). Substance use and psychological distress is related with accommodation status among homeless immigrants. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 87(1), 23-33. 

Abstract

Immigrant homelessness constitutes a cruel expression of social exclusion. We analyzed the relation of sociodemographic characteristics with stressful life events, substance use and psychological distress, giving a special importance to the influence of the time spent on the streets and the accommodation status of 107 homeless immigrants. To this end, both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were combined. Discussion groups with care resources practitioners and service users, were followed by in depth interviews combined with psychometric questionnaires. Results show clear interrelations between stressful life events, alcohol and drug use, psychological distress, and the duration of (current) homelessness. This information, and especially the contextualization which took place within the analytical framework of this project, may provide practitioners and policymakers with information that can help overcome barriers preventing homeless immigrants’ full citizenship and social participation.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2016-57674-001


Ellis, B. Heidi; Abdi, Saida M.; Lazarevic, Vanja; White, Matthew T.; Lincoln, Alisa K.; Stern, Jessica E.; Horgan, John G. (2016).  Relation of psychosocial factors to diverse behaviors and attitudes among Somali refugees.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 86(4), 393-408.

Abstract

Refugee studies have examined both resilience and adverse outcomes, but no research has examined how different outcomes co-occur or are distinct, and the social-contextual factors that give rise to these diverse outcomes. The current study begins to address this gap by using latent profile analysis to examine the ways in which delinquency, gang involvement, civic engagement, political engagement, and openness to violent extremism cluster among Somali refugees. We then use multivariable regression analyses to examine how adversity (e.g., discrimination, trauma, and marginalization) is associated with the identified latent classes. Data were collected from 374 Somali refugee young adults (Mage = 21.30 years, SD = 2.90, range 18–30, 38% female) from 4 different North American communities. Participants completed a structured survey assessing their experiences of adversity, delinquent and/or violent attitudes and behaviors (e.g., attitudes toward violent extremism, participation in delinquent behaviors, involvement in gangs), and positive outcomes (e.g., civic and political engagement). Our findings indicate that participants fall into 5 distinct groups, and that social-contextual and individual factors are uniquely related to those groups. Specifically, strong social bonds seem to be associated with positive outcomes. These findings point to the need to further examine both positive and negative outcomes, paying special attention to social–contextual factors. 
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2015-54041-001


Kaltman, Stacey; Hurtado de Mendoza, Alejandra; Serrano, Adriana; Gonzales, Felisa A. (2016).  A mental health intervention strategy for low-income, trauma-exposed Latina immigrants in primary care: A preliminary study.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry Vol 86(3), 345-354.

Abstract

Latinos in the United States face significant mental health disparities related to access to care, quality of care, and outcomes. Prior research suggests that Latinos prefer to receive care for common mental health problems (e.g., depression and anxiety disorders) in primary care settings, suggesting a need for evidence-based mental health services designed for delivery in these settings. This study sought to develop and preliminarily evaluate a mental health intervention for trauma-exposed Latina immigrants with depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for primary care clinics that serve the uninsured. The intervention was designed to be simultaneously responsive to patients’ preferences for individual psychotherapy and to the needs of safety-net primary care clinics for efficient services and to address the social isolation that is common to the Latina immigrant experience. The resulting intervention, developed on the basis of findings from the research team’s formative research, incorporated individual and group sessions and combined evidence-based interventions to reduce depression and PTSD symptoms, increase group readiness, and improve perceived social support. Low-income Latina immigrant women (N = 28), who screened positive for depression and/or PTSD participated in an open pilot trial of the intervention at a community primary care clinic. Results indicated that the intervention was feasible, acceptable, and safe. A randomized controlled trial of theintervention is warranted.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2016-10052-001 


Leijten, Patty; Raaijmakers, Maartje A. J.; Orobio de Castro, Bram; Matthys, Walter.  (2016).  Ethnic differences in problem perception: Immigrant mothers in a parenting intervention to reduce disruptive child behavior.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 86(3), 323-331.

Abstract

Ethnic minority families in Europe are underrepresented in mental health care—a profound problem for clinicians and policymakers. One reason for their underrepresentation seems that, on average, ethnic minority families tend to perceive externalizing and internalizing child behavior as less problematic. There is concern that this difference in problem perception might limit intervention effectiveness. We tested the extent to which ethnic differences in problem perception exist when ethnic minority families engage in mental health service and whether lower levels of problem perception diminish parenting intervention effects to reduce disruptive child behavior. Our sample included 136 mothers of 3- to 8-year-olds (35% female) from the 3 largest ethnic groups in the Netherlands (43% Dutch; 35% Moroccan; 22% Turkish). Mothers reported on their child’s externalizing and internalizing behavior and their perception of this behavior as problematic. They were then randomly assigned to the Incredible Years parenting intervention or a wait list control condition. We contrasted maternal reports of problem perception to teacher reports of the same children. Moroccan and Turkish mothers, compared with Dutch mothers, perceived similar levels of child behavior problems as less problematic, and as causing less impairment and burden. Teacher problem perception did not vary across children from different ethnic groups. Importantly, maternal problem perception did not affect parenting intervention effectiveness to reduce disruptive child behavior. Our findings suggest that ethnic differences in problem perception exist once families engage in treatment, but that lower levels of problem perception do not diminish treatment effects.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2016-06831-001


Yazykova, Ekaterina; McLeigh, Jill D.  (Sep 2015).  Millennial children of immigrant parents: Transnationalism, disparities, policy, and potential.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 85(5, Suppl), S38-S44.

Abstract

At 11% of their generational cohort, second-generation millennials account for the larger number of children of immigrants than any other generation before them. Second-generation millennials belong to a cohort that comprises about 80 million people, the largest cohort of young people that the United States has ever seen. The “creators” of the millennial generation, Neil Howe and William Strauss, proposed seven core millennials’ traits that are now overwhelmingly accepted as being factual: They are special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, achieving, and pressured. In contemporary discourse, millennials have been described as tech savvy, open to change, compassionate, inclusive, and politically active, but also self-centered and lacking attachment or direction. Although it is true that many second-generation millennials fit these descriptions and are doing as well financially and educationally as their nonimmigrant peers, a significant proportion are struggling. The diverse outcomes raise questions about why some children of immigrant parents fare better than others. If these factors can be identified, efforts can be undertaken to promote the wellbeing of these young adults.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2015-46587-006


Tummala-Narra, Pratyusha.  (2015).  Ethnic identity, perceived support, and depressive symptoms among racial minority immigrant-origin adolescents.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 85(1), 23-33. 

Abstract

Although racial minority immigrant-origin adolescents compose a rapidly growing sector of the U.S. population, few studies have examined the role of contextual factors in mental health among these youth. The present study examined the relationship between ethnic identity and depressive symptoms, the relationship between perceived social support and depressive symptoms, and the relationship between sociodemographic factors (ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status) and depressive symptoms, among a culturally diverse group of adolescents. In addition, the potential moderating role of nativity status (U.S. born vs. foreign born) was examined in these associations. Participants were 9th and 10th graders (N = 341; 141 foreign born and 200 U.S. born, from Asian, Latino(a), and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds), attending an urban high school. Consistent with previous research, ethnic identity was negatively associated with depressive symptomatology in the overall sample. Nativity status did not moderate the relationship between ethnic identity and depressive symptoms. Among the sociodemographic factors examined, only gender was associated with depressive symptoms, with girls reporting higher levels of depressive symptoms compared with boys. Contrary to expectations, there were no differences in the degree of depressive symptomatology between U.S.-born and foreign-born adolescents, and perceived social support was not associated with fewer depressive symptoms. The findings suggest the importance of gender and ethnic identity in mental health and, more broadly, the complexity of social location in mental health outcomes among U.S.-born and foreign-born immigrant-origin adolescents. Implications for research and interventions with immigrant-origin adolescents are discussed.
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2014-43710-001


Leong, Frederick; Park, Yong S.; Kalibatseva, Zornitsa. (2013).  Disentangling immigrant status in mental health: Psychological protective and risk factors among Latino and Asian American immigrants.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 83(2-3), 361-371. 

Abstract

This study aimed to disentangle the psychological mechanisms underlying immigrant status by testing a model of psychological protective and risk factors to predict the mental health prevalence rates among Latino and Asian American immigrants based on secondary analysis of the National Latino and Asian American Study. The first research question examined differences on the set of protective and risk factors between immigrants and their U.S.-born counterparts and found that immigrants reported higher levels of ethnic identity, family cohesion, native language proficiency, and limited English proficiency than their U.S.-born counterparts. The second research question examined the effect of the protective and risk factors on prevalence rates of depressive, anxiety, and substance-related disorders and found that social networking served as a protective factor. Discrimination, acculturative stress, and family conflict were risk factors on the mental health for both ethnic groups. Clinical implications and directions for future research are provided. 
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2013-27702-022


Oxman‐Martinez, Jacqueline; Rummens, Anneke J.; Moreau, Jacques; Choi, Ye Ri; Beiser, Morton; Ogilvie, Linda; Armstrong, Robert.  (2012).  Perceived ethnic discrimination and social exclusion: Newcomer immigrant children in Canada.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 82(3), 376-388.

Abstract

This article examines relationships between perceived ethnic discrimination, social exclusion, psychosocial functioning, and academic performance among newcomer immigrant children from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines using a subsample from the New Canadian Children and Youth Study of children aged 11–13 years (1,053) living in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and the Prairies. Bivariate analysis showed that 25% of children reported being treated unfairly by peers and 14% by teachers because of who they are. Regression analyses revealed that perceived ethnic discrimination by peers and teachers was negatively related to children’s sense of social competence in peer relationships. Children’s self-esteem and sense of academic competence were negatively related to perceived discrimination by teachers. One in 5 children reported feeling like an outsider, with boys revealing higher levels of psychological isolation than girls. More than 1 in 10 were socially isolated and reported never participating in organized activities. This may reflect economic exclusion, as over one third of respondents belonged to families living below the Canadian Income Adequacy Measure. Psychological isolation, social isolation, and economic exclusion were significant predictors of children’s sense of academic competence and actual academic grades. Variations exist across age, sex, ethnicity, family structure, parental education, region of settlement, and length of time since arrival in Canada. 
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2012-22094-010