Pre-migration planning and depression among new migrants to Hong Kong: The moderating role of social support

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Abstract

Background: Although it is a well-known fact that migration is a risk factor contributing to psychopathology, little is known about how pre-migration factors may lead to depression among migrants. The present study examined the relationship between poorly planned migration and depressive symptoms, and evaluated the moderating roles of optimism, sense of control, and social support in the relationship between pre-migration planning and depression among new immigrants from Mainland China to Hong Kong.
Methods: A representative sample of 449 migrants aged 18 and above were interviewed in 2007 using a face-to-face format. The 20-item Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression (CES-D) scale was used to measure depressive symptoms, and a series of questions regarding socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender, marital status, education, and household income), optimism, sense of control, and social support were also included.
Results: A total of 26.5% of our sample scored 16 or above on the CES-D scale, which indicated a clinically significant case of depression. Poor migration planning was significantly related to CES-D scores after adjusting for all socio-demographic variables and three psycho-social factors. In addition, optimism, sense of control, and social support were also significantly related to the CES-D score. It was also found that social support reduced the harmful impact of poor migration planning on depressive symptoms.
Conclusions: New immigrants to Hong Kong from Mainland China are at risk for depressive symptoms, especially those who are not well prepared for migration; therefore, prevention measures, particularly strengthening their social support in Hong Kong, should be considered seriously by policy makers. Copyright © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-93
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume114
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

Citation

Chou, K. L. (2009). Pre-migration planning and depression among new migrants to Hong Kong: The moderating role of social support. Journal of Affective Disorders, 114(1-3), 85-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2008.06.005

Keywords

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Pre­migration planning
  • Social support
  • Newly arrived migrants
  • Hong Kong
  • China

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