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Int J Psychiatr Nurs Res. 2001 Jun;7(1):778-92.

Depression among immigrant Mexican women and Southeast Asian refugee women in the U. S.

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  • 1Northern Illinois University, School of Nursing, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA.


Although immigrants and refugees share the experience of adapting to a new country, life experiences and circumstances surrounding leaving their homelands are vastly different. The most salient difference is their motivation for leaving. Immigrants typically leave their homeland to seek improved economic opportunities and/or to join other family members. Refugees leave their homeland under the threat of injury or loss of life due to political or religious persecution and severe deprivation of basic life necessities. Since the decision to migrate is often viewed as a positive change for immigrant women in comparison to refugee women, mental health problems may be under -detected. The researchers will describe the prevalence of depression in two of the largest groups of migrant women in the U.S., immigrant Mexican women (N=220) and refugee Southeast Asian women (N=163). The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast life circumstances that may impact on the prevalence of depression in both groups of women. The issues presented are important for nurses internationally who assess and design interventions for immigrant and refugee populations of women.

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