UBC Undergraduate Research

Racial Identity and the Healthy Immigrant Effect : Does Racial Background Affect Mental Health Among Immigrants in Canada? Liu, Kyara Jia Yen


The concept of the “Healthy Immigrant Effect” emerged through findings suggesting that immigrants are healthier than the native-born population due to a selection process favouring immigrants of better health and higher education, but that their health diminishes over time due to the unique challenges they encounter in their new nation of residence. The purpose of this study is to identify the role of racial identity in shaping immigrant mental health in Canada. In this study, I implemented ordered logistic regression using a hybrid variable consisting of racial identity and length of time since migration in order to investigate social determinants of immigrant mental health. The findings of my study suggest that both White and visible minority immigrants residing in Canada for 10 to 20 years had worse mental health than immigrants who immigrated less than 10 years ago, with implications varying depending on gender. Further research should look to the gendered processes shaping immigrant distress as well as the effects of rising xenophobia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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