Explanations of depression among Irish migrants in Britain

Leavey, Gerard and Rozmovits, Linda and Ryan, Louise and King, Michael (2007) Explanations of depression among Irish migrants in Britain. Social Science & Medicine, 65 (2). pp. 231-244. ISSN 0277-9536

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.03.022

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Abstract

Irish geographical and cultural propinquity to the UK might be considered as an advantage to migrants. However, research over 40 years shows Irish migrants to have consistent high vulnerability to mental disorders. Only recently have researchers begun to explore the reasons for this morbidity. Taking a previous epidemiological study on depression and Irish migrants as a point of departure, we explored the reasons for this morbidity—we hypothesised that depression may be related to unprepared or spontaneous migration. We report on a qualitative study in order to clarify how, from the migrant's perspective, migration might be related to depression. These perspectives were obtained through in-depth interviews with Irish-born migrants aged 18 and over living in London in order to explore psychological distress through a contextualised ‘insiders’ account. The interviews were completed with men and women who experienced depression and others who had not. We found that previous theories on Irish migrant psychiatric disorder such as racial discrimination were not supported by the narratives of Irish migrant experience. For many participants, the origins of distress are located in Ireland or in difficult life events and circumstances without a direct relationship to migration. This paper examines the causal attributes to depression among Irish migrants in the UK in the context of pre- and post-migration experiences with particular focus on gender and age.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Law > Social Policy & Administration
Citations on ISI Web of Science:5
ID Code:3575
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Deposited On:06 Jan 2010 08:53
Last Modified:25 Nov 2013 09:01

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