Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Purpose: The purpose of this review was to provide an international perspective on the effects of immigration on the mental health of women. Many of the current reviews focus on one ethnic group and the many factors influencing their mental health. This review examined many ethnic groups but attempted to focus on immigration-related factors that may act as risk or protective factors for depression and anxiety in first- and second-generation immigrant women.

Method: A search of electronic databases for peer-reviewed articles resulted in 30 studies, of which 19 were reviewed for this analysis. The search was limited to studies published in the last 15 years (2000−2015), considering depression and anxiety disorders in first- and second-generation immigrant women between the ages of 18 and 65 years.

Results: The results varied; with some studies showing an association between immigration-related factors and poor mental health and others suggesting that this effect may be influenced by unknown variables. Results also varied for generational status, with some studies suggesting that second-generation immigrants may have worse mental health outcomes than first-generation immigrants. Again, these findings were often closely linked with other immigration-related factors.

Conclusion: Immigrants face a unique set of challenges and this is clearly reflected in their fragile mental health status. There is a need for a clearer understanding of the immigration-related factors that have the greatest effects on the mental health of these populations.

Included in

Public Health Commons