The Effect of Immigration on the Mental Well-Being of Middle Eastern Immigrants in the United States
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Immigration is not only a geographical change, it involves changes in all of the life aspects, including social, cultural, environmental, behavioral, and lifestyle, which causes several traumatic events that negatively impact the mental well-being of immigrants. This quantitative research aimed to investigate the effects of immigration phenomenon on the mental well-being of Middle Eastern immigrants in the United States. A convenience sample of consenting Eastern immigrants (N = 113) immigrants participated in this study; 47.8% of the immigrants were symptomatic for anxiety, 43.4% were symptomatic for depression, and 44.2% were symptomatic for emotional distress. The findings showed statistically significant relationships between independent variables (social discrimination, health disparities, and acculturation status) and mental health. This study indicated that immigrants’ scores of depression, anxiety, and emotional distress can be predicted based on their level of acculturation. A significant difference was found in the mental well-being between those who immigrated voluntarily and those who were forced to immigrate; however, there were no significant difference between gender, immigration generation, and mental health. It is concluded that immigration has severe negative effects on the mental well-being of Middle Eastern immigrants. Being subjected to social discrimination and health disparities decreases immigrants’ level of acculturation and increases their risk for mental health problems. Therefore, it is recommended to create centers that provide mental health services for immigrants, increase minorities’ representation in the healthcare system, and enhance all healthcare providers’ cultural competent skills.
Immigration, Middle Eastern immigrants, mental health, acculturation.