Acculturation and post-disaster mental health problems among affected and non-affected immigrants: A comparative study

It is unknown to what extent acculturation among disaster-affected immigrants is associated with mental health problems (MHP) compared to non-affected immigrants.
We examined the associations between acculturation and post-disaster MHP among affected and non-affected immigrants in The Netherlands.
Among the affected group, keeping norms and values of original culture and limited skills to cope with the demands of the new society were independently associated with PTSD-symptomatology, anxiety, depression, hostility, and somatic problems at 18 months post-event. In the non-affected comparison group no associations were found. Interestingly, levels of acculturation did not differ between both groups, in contrast to MHP.
The acculturation levels could be influenced by the experience of a disaster. However, levels did not differ statistically between the study groups. Furthermore, the groups were reasonably small and the response rates were, although not uncommon in health studies among immigrants, relatively low.
The findings of this unique study clearly suggest that post-disaster mental health policies should target low levels of skills to survive in the new society. Furthermore, the acculturation domain of keeping traditional norms and values can be contrary to the Dutch care after a disaster where self-efficacy and individualistic, cognitive functioning are the central goals. Further research is warranted to explore and examine post-event interventions aimed at increasing the levels of acculturation that may facilitate recovery.

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Drogendijk AN,Velden PG,Kleber RJ, | 2012
In: Journal of Affective Disorders, ISSN 0165-0327 | 138 | 3 | may | 485-489