The Healthy Migrant Effect on Depression: Variation Over Time?

Zheng Wu, University of Victoria
Christoph M. Schimmele, University of Victoria

Growing international evidence supports the epidemiological paradox that immigrants have better overall health than non-immigrants, including lower levels of depression. But whether length of residence in the host population modifies this effect on depression is not well understood. We examine a large, heterogeneous sample of Canadians to investigate three possible trajectories of depression within the immigrant population. We present hypotheses testing if the depression rate among immigrants improves, deteriorates, or undergoes non-linear change over time. Our results confirm the so-called “healthy migrant effect” and show that visible minority immigrants are especially healthy. However, soon after arrival in Canada, depression among immigrants increases for several decades. Policy implications of the findings are discussed.

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Presented in Session 11: Acculturation and Health