Discrimination and mental health of Somali immigrants in North America: a longitudinal study from 2013 to 2019

B. Heidi Ellis, Georgios Sideridis, Seetha H. Davis, Emma Cardeli, Saida M. Abdi, Alisa K. Lincoln

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Immigrant mental health is closely linked to the context of reception in the receiving society, including discrimination; past research has examined this relationship only cross-sectionally. This longitudinal study examines the relationships between discrimination and mental health among Somali immigrants living in North America from 2013 to 2019. Methods: Data for 395 participants (mean age 21 years at Time 1) were collected through the four-wave Somali Youth Longitudinal Study in four cities: Boston, MA, Minneapolis, MN, Lewiston/Portland, ME, and Toronto, ON. Latent linear and quadratic growth models were used to predict mental health symptoms over time and discrimination’s role in these changes. Results: PTSD and anxiety symptoms decreased from 2013 to 2015 and subsequently increased. Depression was static from 2013 to 2015, worsening thereafter. Increases in discrimination predicted increases in mental health symptomatology at all timepoints. Conclusion: This study provides support for discrimination’s toxic impact on mental health and suggests that recent increases in discrimination may have contributed to worsening mental health among Somali immigrants living in North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1059
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume57
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Naima Agalab of the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center, who has been a partner in our work with the Somali community from the beginning and has provided leadership and training in their efforts to build community leadership teams in other cities. We thank Somali community advisors Farah Aw-Osman, Fatuma Hussein, Sharif Mohammed, and Rilwan Osman?for their guidance and invaluable contribution to this project. We also thank Osob Issa for her efforts on recruitment and obtaining consent. And finally, we thank the community youth who took time to share their stories.

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R21 MD012405). The findings and conclusions expressed in this report are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany.

Keywords

  • Discrimination
  • Immigrant
  • Longitudinal
  • Mental health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Discrimination and mental health of Somali immigrants in North America: a longitudinal study from 2013 to 2019'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this