Gender disparities and psychological distress among humanitarian migrants in Australia: a moderating role of migration pathway?
Background: The role of migration pathway (refugees vs. asylum seekers) is seldom addressed in extant literature that looks at gender and mental health of humanitarian migrants. The aim of this study is to assess the relationship between gender and psychological distress among humanitarian migrants in Australia including the potential moderating role of migration pathway.
Methods: We analyse data from 2399 humanitarian migrants that participated in the first wave of Building a New Life in Australia, a survey of humanitarian migrants in Australia, using Ordinary Least Squares multivariate regression.
Results: Women report significantly higher psychological distress than men. Migration pathway moderates the relationship between gender and psychological distress with women asylum seekers reporting higher psychological distress. There is also a significant association between pre-migration trauma, settlement arrangements (particularly those associated with finance, housing, getting used to life in Australia and loneliness) and psychological distress.
Conclusions: Findings indicate higher psychological distress among asylum seeking women and suggest the importance of migrant status in predicting psychological distress. Settlement arrangements are key predictors of psychological distress among humanitarian migrants. While strategies aimed at addressing their mental health are warranted, policies aimed at the broader social determinants of health are needed to alleviate some of their mental distress especially in light of the recent changes to the Australian Refugee and Asylum-seeking policies.
SOURCE: Jarallah Y, Baxter J. “Gender disparities and psychological distress among humanitarian migrants in Australia: a moderating role of migration pathway?.” Conflict and Health, 4 April 2019.
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