Mental Health of Immigrant Adolescents in Spain

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Yumiko ARATANI , Columbia University, New York, NY, NY
Héctor CEBOLLA-BOADO , Sociology II (Social Structure), UNED, Madrid, Spain
Amparo GONZÁLEZ-FERRER , Iegd, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain
This paper explores and explains migrant-native differentials in psychological health of adolescents in Spain. As a recent immigration country, research on integration outcomes in Spain is attracting, significant levels of international academic attention both because Spain was the second largest destination of international migration only after the US from 2000 to 2007) and the impact that the Great Recession is having among migrant families and other disadvantaged groups. Our paper is inspired by a growing body of research from United States showing that Latin American origin adolescents tend to show highest risks for mental health even after controlling for age, gender and socioeconomic status. Despite of the large number of Latin American immigrants in Spain, research on immigrants is underinvestigated and more importantly, research on mental health and psychological wellbeing of immigrant youth is particularly limited due to the absence of appropriate datasets.

In this paper we take advantage of a special data set, the Chances (2011) survey, which sampled schools and students enrolled in the 3rd and 4thgrades of secondary education within in the municipality of Madrid (n=2,734). The survey includes a large number of immigrants and information on  the life of adolescents, including their mental health and other socioeconomic outcomes, relation with their families, friends and school mates. The Chances data also allows us to examine the impact of contextual factors such as schools and neighbourhoods. The data also include information about family conflict and other family characteristics collected from sub-sample of parents (n=1,239) .

Our findings suggest worse mental health outcomes of children of migrant families compared native families in Spain. Using several indicators of mental health outcomes (e.g. difficulties to concentrate, sleep) as dependent variables, the paper examines the effect of parent characteristics, family conflict, and school and neighbourhood context on adolescent mental health.