Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 706–712 | Cite as

Context of Entry and Number of Depressive Symptoms in an Older Mexican-Origin Immigrant Population

  • Patricia Y. Miranda
  • Amy J. Schulz
  • Barbara A. Israel
  • Hector M. González
Original Paper


We examined the association between context of entry into the United States and symptoms of depression in an older age Mexican-origin population. We found that context of entry was associated with the number of depressive symptoms reported in this population. Specifically, immigrants who arrived to the U.S. following the Mexican Revolution (1918–1928) reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms, and those who arrived following enactment of the Immigration Reform Control Act (1965–1994) reported significantly more symptoms of depression, compared to those who arrived in the Bracero era (1942–1964). These findings suggest that sociopolitical context at the time of immigration may be associated with long-term psychological well-being. They contribute to a growing body of literature that suggests that the context of immigration may have long-term implications for the health of immigrant populations. We discuss implications of our findings for understanding relationships between immigration policies and the health of Mexican immigrant populations.


Latino Sociopolitical context Context of entry Depressive symptoms 



This research was supported by the Kellogg Health Scholars Program, under a grant, P0117943, from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to the Center for Advancing Health, a dissertation grant from the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and the Healthy Environments Partnership and its minority supplement grant, both from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (#R01 ES10936, #R01 ES014234). Dr. González is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH 67726 and MH 84994). The authors would like to thank Graciela Mentz for her statistical consultations.


  1. 1.
    Black SA. Increased health burden associated with comorbid depression in older diabetic Mexican Americans—results from the Hispanic established population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly survey. Diabetes Care. 1999;22(1):56–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Black SA, Markides KS. Depressive symptoms and mortality in older Mexican Americans. Ann Epidemiol. 1999;9(1):45–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Black SA, Markides KS, Miller TQ. Correlates of depressive symptomatology among older community-dwelling Mexican Americans: the Hispanic EPESE. J Gerontol Ser B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1998;53(4):S198–208.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Schneider MG. The intersection of mental and physical health in older Mexican Americans. Hisp J Behav Sci. 2004;26(3):333–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Schneider MG, Chiriboga DA. Associations of stress and depressive symptoms with cancer in older Mexican Americans. Ethn Dis. 2005;15(4):698–704.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wallace SP, Villa VM. Equitable health systems: cultural and structural issues for Latino elders. Am J Law Med. 2003;29(2–3):247–67.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bean FD, De la Garza R. At the crossroads: Mexican migration and U.S. policy. New York: Rowman and Littlefield; 1997.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Portes A, Escobar C, Radford AW. Immigrant transnational organizations and development: a comparative study. Int Migr Rev. 2007;41(1):242–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Durand J, Massey DS, Charvet F. The changing geography of Mexican immigration to the United States: 1910–1996. Soc Sci Q. 2000;81(1):1–15.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    de la Garza R, Szekely G. Policy, politics and emigration: reexamining the mexican experience. In: Bean FD, et al., editors. The crossroads: Mexican migration and U.S. policy. New York: Rowman and Littlefield; 1997. p. 201–25.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nevins J. Deportations of Mexican-origin people in the United States. In: Oboler S, Gonzalez DJ, editors. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press; 2005. p. 496–9.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Acuna R. Occupied America: a history of Chicanos. 6th ed. New York: Longman; 2006.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Martinez OJ. The Border. In: Oboler S, Gonzalez DJ, editors. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press; 2005. p. 199–209.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fernandez-Kelly P, Massey DS. Borders for whom? The role of NAFTA in Mexico-US migration. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci. 2007;610:98–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wilson MC. The economic causes and consequences of Mexican immigration to the United States. Denver Univ Law Rev. 2007;84(4):1099–120.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Massey DS. Social and economic aspects of immigration. In: Kaler SG, Rennert OM, editors. Understanding and optimizing human development: from cells to patients to populations. New York: New York Academy of Sciences; 2004. p. 206–12.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Montgomery E, Foldspang A. Discrimination, mental problems and social adaptation in young refugees. Eur J Pub Health. 2008;18(2):156–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Muntaner C, et al. Socioeconomic position and major mental disorders. Epidemiol Rev. 2004;26:53–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gallo LC, Matthews KA. Do negative emotions mediate the association between socioeconomic status and health? Ann NY Acad Sci. 1999;896:226–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Turner RJ, Lloyd DA, Roszell P. Personal resources and the social distribution of depression. Am J Community Psychol. 1999;27(5):643–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Turner RJ, Lloyd DA. The stress process and the social distribution of depression. J Health Soc Behav. 1999;40(4):374–404.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cabassa LJ. Measuring acculturation: where we are and where we need to go. Hisp J Behav Sci. 2003;25(2):127–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mills TL, Henretta JC. Racial, ethnic, and sociodemographic differences in the level of psychosocial distress among older Americans. Res Aging. 2001;23(2):131–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Swenson CJ, et al. Depressive symptoms in Hispanic and non-Hispanic White rural elderly—the San Luis Valley health and aging study. Am J Epidemiol. 2000;152(11):1048–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Seligman ME, Maier SF. Failure to escape traumatic shock. J Exp Psychol. 1967;74(1):1–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Markides KS. Established populations for epidemiologic studies of the elderly, Wave I, 1993–1994 [Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas]. 1993–1994, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor].Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Radloff LS. The CES-D scale: a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Appl Psychol Meas. 1997;1:385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cho MJ, et al. Concordance between 2 measures of depression in the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 1993;28(4):156–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Neter J, et al. Applied linear statistical models. 3rd ed. Chicago: McGraw-Hill/Irwin; 1996.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Piccinelli M, Wilkinson G. Gender differences in depression—critical review. Br J Psychiatry. 2000;177:486–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Zarit SH, Zarit JM. Mental disorders in older adults. New York: The Guilford Press; 2007.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Chen YY, et al. Women’s status and depressive symptoms: a multilevel analysis. Soc Sci Med. 2005;60(1):49–60.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Manzoli L, et al. Marital status and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Soc Sci Med. 2007;64(1):77–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bolton P, et al. Interventions for depression symptoms among adolescent survivors of war and displacement in northern Uganda: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Med Assoc. 2007;298(5):519–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    de Jong K, et al. The trauma of ongoing conflict and displacement in Chechnya: quantitative assessment of living conditions, and psychosocial and general health status among war displaced in Chechnya and Ingushetia. Confl Health. 2007;1:4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Viruell-Fuentes EA. Beyond acculturation: immigration, discrimination, and health research among Mexicans in the United States. Soc Sci Med. 2007;65(7):1524–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Y. Miranda
    • 1
  • Amy J. Schulz
    • 2
  • Barbara A. Israel
    • 2
  • Hector M. González
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health Disparities Research, Center for Research on Minority HealthThe University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Behavior and Health EducationUniversity of Michigan School of Public HealthAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family MedicineWayne State University Institute of GerontologyDetroitUSA

Personalised recommendations