Assessing demographic factors immigration factors & community support for depression among local immigrants
Bey, Alissa N.
AdvisorLewis, Rhonda K.
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There are an estimated 40,072 immigrants living in Wichita, Kansas making up 10% of the local population (American, 2017). It is imperative to support the mental well-being of immigrants who contribute markedly to the success and culture of the city. Previous research supports the Immigrant Paradox, which shows that immigrants tend to have better mental health than the U.S.-born population, but this health advantage diminishes over time (Schribner & Dwyer, 1989). While Sedgwick County has a recorded 17.9% lifetime prevalence of depression in its population, there is a need for data specific to local immigrants’ mental health and ways the Wichita community can support the mental wellness of this community (Sedgwick County Health Department, 2012). The purpose of this research is to examine depression symptomology related to demographic and immigration factors and explore existing concerns and community-level changes needed to support the mental health of immigrants living in the Wichita, Kansas area. In collaboration with local immigrant-serving partners, survey data was collected from immigrants living in the Wichita area (N = 140) to assess demographic and immigration factors related to depression. Focus groups were also conducted with Hispanic and Latina immigrant women (N = 10) to explore community impact on immigrants’ mental health and needed local changes for improvement. The results of this research indicated that a younger age of immigration, being unmarried, and ‘other’ immigration statuses were related to increased depression outcomes. Prejudice was the strongest community concern impacting mental health and the strongest solutions were supporting undocumented immigrants and non-immigrants being knowledgeable about prominent issues in the immigrant community. Upon the availability of the information in this research, local leaders in the Wichita community are called to take actionable steps towards changes that improve the mental health of immigrants living in Kansas’ largest city. Further suggestions for change are detailed.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology