THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL CONTEXT ON THE ACCULTURATIVE PROCESS: ACCULTURATIVE STRESS IN LATIN AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS
Ms. Hilda-Wara Revollo
1 slide(s) – English – 2011-03-13
The social context—or neighborhood—of residence of the immigrant has been considered a relevant factor in the adaptation process as well as health (Bhugra & Arya, 2005). At the same time, few studies have taken into consideration the way in which social context may impact the mental helath of Latin American immigrants (Parrado & Flippen, 2010).
The objective of this paper is to get a better idea of how key aspects related to neighbourhood of residence—specifically immigration density and crime level--impacts the mental health of Latin American immigrants.
The sample consists of 291 Latin American immigrant patients hospitalized in a tertiary care hospital between 18 and 65 years of age. The instruments used are: the Barcelona Immigration Stress Scale (BISS), Karnovksy health rating scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and an interview sheet assessing sociodemograpic characteristics (including social context).
Social context did not have the expected impact on immigrant mental health and acculturative stress; only perceived discrimination stress was related to immigrant density. Greater levels of immigrant density were associated with higher levels of perceived discrimination in the Latin American population. Neighbourhood security was unrelated to acculturative stress and anxiety and depression.
Our findings indicate the importance of localized studies, that is, even relatively well accepted constructs such as “ethnic density” may vary according to time and place. The relationship between social context, acculturative stress and mental health would appear to be complex, and requires further exploration.