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The Mental Health of Immigrants and
Minorities in Canada
- The Social and Economic Effects
M. Annie Xu (HRSDC/UNB)
Metropolis Brown Bag Seminar
July 13, 2010
Ottawa
Acknowledgement




Dr. Ted McDonald (UNB)
Economics Domain, Atlantic Metropolis
Centre
Atlantic Research Data Centre (Statistics
Canada)
NS Department of Health
2
Research Rationale
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

Significance of mental health
Mental health and immigration
Implications for population health
Implications for immigration policy
3
Literature Review

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Mental health is influenced by
demographic/SES factors
Findings on ethnic variation in mental
health are inconsistent
The effect of immigration on mental
health is not clear
HIE is more established with respect to
physical health than mental health
4
Research Questions

What are the differences in mental health
between immigrants and native born
Canadians?

What is the influence of local ethnic network
on immigrants’ mental health?
5
Data

CCHS (Canadian Community Health Survey)
Cycles 1.1 (2001), 2.1(2003), and 3.1 (2005)

2001 Census
6
The “Mental Health Index”

Components
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Depression
Binge drinking
Suicide ideation
Stress
Two-point scale measurement
Final score ranges from 0 - 4
7
Methodology
Y ijk  T  z i  N jk 1  N jk  Y j 2
  D k  k   E j j   ijk
k
j
Where
Y = Mental health
T = Year dummy
Z = Demo/SES/Immigration variables
N = Local ethnic concentration
D = Neighborhood fixed effects
E = Minority fixed effects
8
Methodology – cont’d


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Ordered probit modeling
Separate estimates for Men & Women
Extended models

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Model I: Demographic/SES controls
Model II: Arrival cohort effects
Model III: Ethnic network effects
9
Findings

Positively related to mental health

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Negatively related to mental health
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
Income
Social support
Physical health
Marriage disruption
Urban residence
Age
Education
10
Findings – cont’d

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
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Better mental health among visible minorities
“Healthy immigrant effect”
Arrival cohort effect not found
Arrival age effect
Significant neighbourhood effects found for
both men and women
11
Conclusions



Ethnic disparities exist
“HIE” applies for mental health
Benefits of local ethnic support
12
Policy Implications

Settlement Issues




Integration Issue
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Language and cultural orientation
Employment
Social networks
Continuous education/career development
Cultural competence
Social inclusion
Immigration Policy



Admission categories
Short-term vs. long-term
Quality vs. quantity
13
Questions?
14