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J Natl Med Assoc. Oct 2007; 99(10): 1126–1131.
PMCID: PMC2574408
Legal status, emotional well-being and subjective health status of Latino immigrants.
Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, Luis H. Zayas, and Edward L. Spitznagel
Center for Mental Health Services Research, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University, St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg: pcavazos/at/im.wustl.edu
Abstract
Among the many stresses that undocumented Latino immigrants experience, worries about their legal status and preoccupation with disclosure and deportation can heighten the risk for emotional distress and impaired quality of health. To better document these effects, this study examined the relationship between deportation concern and emotional and physical well-being among a group of Latino immigrants in a midwestern city. One-hundred-forty-three persons were recruited through community sources. Fifty-six participants (39%) expressed concern with seeking services for fear of deportation, while 87 did not endorse this concern. Measures of emotional distress, Hispanic immigrant stress and subjective health status were administered. Results indicate that Latino immigrants with concerns about deportation are at heightened risk of experiencing negative emotional and health states (particularly anger), Hispanic immigrant stress associated with extrafamilial factors and substandard health status. Findings inform policymakers of culturally relevant stressors of undocumented Latino immigrants that help to create and perpetuate the health and mental health disparities of this group.
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