A national community survey of psychological symptom levels among samples of Indian immigrants and natives is reported. Using a quasi-random sampling procedure, a sample of 200 Indian-born residents of large towns in England was selected to match the age and sex structure of the total Indian immigrant population. An indigenous population, selected in the same way, was matched with the immigrants for comparison purposes. Psychological disturbance was measured with the Langner 22-Item Scale which has previously been specifically validated for use in this context. Other indices were constructed to test specific hypotheses.
The pattern revealed by mental hospital admission statistics was strongly supported by survey. Indian immigrants as a group experience far less psychological disorder than natives, despite the experiences of migration and of being an immigrant. On other measures Indians also manifested an adjustment superior to that of natives.
Among the Indian sample stable psychological adjustment was related to being young at migration, being acculturated to life in England and being socially integrated. A subgroup of higher social status, Indian females who had been upwardly socially mobile, emerged as the only group with a higher than average symptom level. However, even this group was at least as well adjusted as its English counterpart.