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Dynamics of Mental Health of Migrants (DMHM)

Completed Project

Project Management

Theresa Entringer

Project Period

April 1, 2019 - April 30, 2024

Commissioned by

DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation)

In Cooperation With

University medicine of JGU Mainz

Theoretical models of acculturative stress predict the psychological impacts of adaptation to a new culture and the important role these impacts play in the development of migrants’ mental health. This development is shaped by both stressors and resilience factors within the context of the host country’s migration regime. Personality characteristics and family relations are two crucial factors in this development which have not been investigated from a longitudinal perspective to date.

DIW Team

Project description

The project Dynamics of Mental Health of Migrants - Analyzing dynamics of resilience and vulnerabilities using a synthesis of socio-structural and psychological approaches (DMHM) will fill this gap in the research on migrants’ mental health using representative longitudinal data from large-scale surveys conducted in four countries (Ntotal > 83,000; Nmigrants > 25,000). Our project has six innovative features:

  • First, given the longitudinal design, we will be able to evaluate different post-migration scenarios and their effects on mental health trajectories. Many of the existing studies in the literature are either representative or longitudinal, but very few are both.
  • Second, we will compare the development of mental health of migrants across four countries using large-scale survey data from each of the countries (Germany, UK, USA, and Australia), each of which has a different migration regime.
  • Third, in contrast to most of the empirical quantitative research, which has focused primarily on the stressors that migrants experience, we will investigate both stressors and resilience factors, and will also operationalize mental health by taking not only the experience of mental distress but also the experience of well-being into account.
  • Fourth, resource and coping orientations are pivotal in the development of resilience in individuals and communities, and we address this by focusing on the role of personality characteristics and family relations.
  • Fifth, the project will contribute methodological and conceptual innovations to the research literature by conducting tests of measurement equivalence among the main instruments used in the different surveys as the basis for meaningful statistical comparisons across the four countries.
  • Finally, the joint analysis of sociological and psychological factors within a single theoretical framework will yield an analytical framework for the study of migration and mental health that is flexible enough to generate empirically testable hypotheses for different contexts, that will inform future research beyond this project, and that will provide knowledge to optimize health services for migrants.