National Origins, Social Context and Length of Time on the Physical and Mental Health
of Caribbeans in and Outside Canada
Method: National data collected in Canada (2000/2001, 2003, 2005), Jamaica (2005) and Guyana (2005) were used for the study. Physician-diagnosed and self-rated health was used to assess physical and mental health.
Results: Rates of chronic conditions were generally higher among Caribbean descendants in Canada compared to those living in the Caribbean region. Rates of self-rated fair or poor general health, however, were higher among participants in the Caribbean region. Higher rates of any mood disorders were also found among Caribbean region participants. Multivariate results showed that new Caribbean immigrants (less than 10 years since immigration) were less prone to poor physical health than more established immigrants. Those who immigrated more than 20 years ago showed consistently better health conditions than those with 11-19 years of immigration. However, this healthy immigration effect did not appear for certain chronic conditions for specific immigrant groups. Moreover, mood disorder was highest among new immigrants.
Conclusions: This study suggests that where you immigrate to and emigrate from matters to health and this has implications for policies in support of marginalized groups that relocate to host countries. The study also provides suggestions for future studies particularly with respect to the mental health of Caribbeans within and outside the region.