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Psychiatry Res. 2014 Dec 30;220(3):1028-36. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.08.045. Epub 2014 Aug 29.

Mood, anxiety, and personality disorders among first and second-generation immigrants to the United States.

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School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin, 1925 San Jacinto Boulevard D3500, Austin, TX 78712-0358, United States. Electronic address:
School of Social Work, Adelphi University, School of Social Work, P.O. Box 701, Garden City, NY 11530-0701, United States. Electronic address:
School of Social Work, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, Tegeler Hall, 3550 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63103, United States. Electronic address:


A careful examination of the multigenerational relationship between immigrant status and mental disorders can provide important information about the robustness and nature of the immigrant-mental health link. We examine immigrant status as a protective factor against mental illness, assess intergenerational effects, examine differences across race/ethnicity, and report the prevalence of mood, anxiety, and personality disorders of immigrants across major world regions. We employ data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and compare first (n=5363) and second-generation (n=4826) immigrants from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America to native-born Americans (n=24,461) with respect to mental disorders. First-generation immigrants are significantly less likely than native-born Americans to be diagnosed with a mood, anxiety, or personality disorder, though the prevalence of mental health diagnoses increases among second generation immigrants. Similar results were observed for immigrants from major world regions as the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity was lower among immigrants from Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia compared to native-born Americans. Findings provide evidence in support of the notion that the immigrant paradox may be extended to include mood, anxiety, and personality disorders in the United States.


Anxiety disorders; Immigrant; Immigrant paradox; Immigration; Mental health; Mood disorders; Personality disorders

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