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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

A Comparison of Mental Health Status among Vietnamese Immigrants, Returnees, and Never-leavers

Mark J. VanLandingham, Ph D, Hongyun Fu, M A, and Dinh Tran, M A. Department of International Health and Development, Tulane University, 1440 Canal Street; Suite 2200, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-2113, mvanlan@tulane.edu

Background: We address key deficiencies in the migration and mental health literature by employing several standard instruments (described below) across three groups of Vietnamese in such a way that can help distinguish between migration and selection effects.

Methods: Our sample includes 127 Vietnamese immigrants living in New Orleans; 142 returnees to HCMC; and 467 HCMC residents who never migrated. Principal outcome measures are the Vietnamese Depression Scale, The Affect Balance Scale and four SF-36 sub-scales related to mental health.

Results: Relative to those who never left, immigrants demonstrate statistically significant disadvantages with regard to the vitality, social functioning, and mental health subscales of the SF-36 (but advantages on the role-emotional subscale), all in multivariate analysis. Immigrants in this sample do not show elevated risks of depression, but returnees do. Returnees also score significantly worse on social functioning compared to never-leavers. Analysis of the ABS is in progress.

Conclusions: The migration experience from Vietnam to the United States appears to negatively affect three key dimensions of mental health status as measured by the SF-36, but does not appear to lead to more depression. That the pattern of results are so distinct for immigrants and returnees suggests that these effects are not an artifact of the types of persons choosing to emigrate, but rather are due to the migration experience per se. The experience of repatriation to Vietnam also appears to result in some negative mental health outcomes, notably, a decline in social functioning and an increase in the incidence of depression.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Immigrants, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Health and Access to Care Disparities of Adult and Child Immigrants

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA