Depression affects around 350 million people globally and, according to the World Health Organisation, it is the leading cause of disability and a major contributing factor for disease.
Its causes may be wide-ranging but a nationwide study of 1,499 people in Luxembourg, where immigrants make up 46% of the population, found a recurring factor—immigration status.
“We could indeed observe differences between non-immigrants and immigrants, both in men and women,” Dr Maria Ruiz-Castell of LIH’s Epidemiology and Public Health Research Unit, who led the study, said. She went on to report that immigrants, especially second generation immigrants, meaning those born in Luxembourg with at least one parent born in a country other than Luxembourg, were found to be at higher risk for depressive symptoms compared to non-immigrants.
“The challenges of integration or emotional internal conflict of being from two cultures could be possible explanations for this finding, but this would need to be investigated further”, she said.
The study was conducted with people aged from 25 to 64, who completed a standardised Patient Health Questionnaire that assesses self-reported symptoms of depression based on nine diagnosis criteria for depressive disorders. It used cross-sectional data from the European Health Examination Survey conducted in Luxembourg from 2013 to 2015 (EHES-Lux).
The findings will be published in the November 2017 issue of the “Journal of Affective Disorders”, but is already available online.