Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Serious Psychological Distress Among Brazilian Immigrants in Boston

  • Louisa M. HolmesEmail author
  • Enrico A. Marcelli
Original Paper


Recent migrants to the United States face various stressors, including adjustment to new community norms and practices. To ease this transition, migrant groups have traditionally formed enclaves where they might live in close proximity and access institutions designed to serve their cultural interests. For newer migrant groups, such as Brazilians residing in New England, neighborhood social cohesion may therefore be particularly important for buffering against serious psychological distress. We use representative data from the 2007 Boston Metropolitan Immigrant Health and Legal Status Survey to estimate the association of serious psychological distress with neighborhood-level social cohesion among foreign-born Brazilian adults. We find that serious psychological distress is inversely related to neighborhood social cohesion (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.46, 0.94). Annual earnings were also negatively associated with distress (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.93, 0.99). Our findings suggest that neighborhood social ties may buffer against serious psychological distress for Brazilian migrants in New England.


Stress Immigrant legal status Mental health Urban environment Migration 



Funding for the 2007 BM-IHLSS was provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center-UMASS Boston Partnership Grant #5U56CA118635-03, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyState University of New York at BinghamtonBinghamtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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