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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: February 2011

Chapter 7 - Risk and protective factors in mental health among migrants

from Section 1 - Epidemiology and inequalities


People have migrated from one place to another since the start of human existence, for all kinds of reasons and varying durations. The process of migration can be divided into three stages: pre-migration, migration and post-migration. The impact of migration on an individual's mental health is multifaceted and affects different aspects of the individual, whether it is biological, social or psychological. Migration involves a series of losses, such as the family and the familiar society; both emotional and structural losses are experienced. The relationship between social inequalities and mental health is well known and it is inevitable that if migrants suffer from social and economic inequalities they are also likely to suffer from mental ill-health, though the mediating factors may well vary. In cultures where Cartesian mind-body dualism is not a prevalent model, the interaction between somatic symptoms and psychological distress will be significant.

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