Longitudinal trends in mental health among ethnic groups in Canada

P Pahwa, C P Karunanayake, J McCrosky, L Thorpe
Chronic Diseases and Injuries in Canada 2012, 32 (3): 164-76

INTRODUCTION: Immigration continues to transform the ethnic composition of the Canadian population. We investigated whether longitudinal trends in mental distress vary between seven cultural and ethnic groups and whether mental distress within the same ethnic group varies by demographic (immigrant status, sex, age, marital status, place and length of residence), socio-economic (education, income), social support and lifestyle factors.

METHOD: The study population consisted of 14 713 respondents 15 years and older from the first six cycles of the National Population Health Survey (NPHS); 20% reported themselves to be immigrant at Cycle 1, in 1994/1995. The logistic regression model was fitted by modifying a multivariate quasi-likelihood approach, and robust variance estimates were obtained by using balanced repeated replication techniques.

RESULTS: Based on the multivariable model and self-reported data, we observed that female respondents were more likely to report moderate/high mental distress than male respondents; younger respondents more than older respondents; single respondents more than those in a relationship; urban-dwellers more than rural-dwellers; less educated respondents more than more educated respondents; current and former smokers more than non-smokers; and those living in a smoking household more than those living in non-smoking households. The relationship between ethnicity and mental distress was modified by immigrant status, sex, social involvement score and education. Confirming other research, we found an inverted U-shaped relationship between length of stay and mental distress: those who had lived in Canada for less than 2 years were less likely to report moderate/high mental distress, while those who had lived in Canada for 2 to 20 years were significantly more likely to report moderate/high mental distress than those who had lived in Canada for more than 20 years.

CONCLUSION: There is a need to develop ethnicity-specific mental health programs targeting those with low education attainment and low social involvement. Policies and programs should also target women, the younger age group (15-24 years) and low-income adequacy groups.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"