The Immigration Paradox: Exploring Filipino American Psychological Distress

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Date
2012-05-03
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Publisher
Virginia Tech
Abstract

The immigrant paradox is the empirical trend that immigrants have better mental health than second and subsequent generations. Mossakowski (2007) found that Filipinos follow this trend, and using the same data this study builds upon the previous research by examining the relationship between cultural (ethnic identification, native language) and structural (nativity, age at immigration, and poverty in city of birth) variables. The results indicate that cultural variables are important in understanding psychological distress among Filipino Americans. Relative deprivation was not associated with psychological distress, and the effect of selective migration is explained away when language and ethnic identification are controlled. Use of native language benefits U.S. born and adult immigrant Filipinos, but is damaging to child immigrants with low ethnic identification. Suggestions for future research are discussed.

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Keywords
Filipino Americans, psychological distress, immigration, native language, ethnic identification
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