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Immigrant Mental Health and Unemployment


  • Steven Kennedy


The objective of this research is to assess whether stress associated with the transition to a new country combined with additional stress arising from unemployment affects the mental health of immigrants. I use the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA) to examine the effect of labour force status on the mental health of immigrants. By using a rich longitudinal data set, I am able to control for individual immigrant differences whilst examining whether changes in mental health cause changes in labour force status rather than changes in labour force status causing changes in mental health. I find that causality runs from unemployment to mental health and that unemployment significantly adversely affects the mental health of immigrants. Other characteristics associated with poor mental health include; age, gender, visa category, marital status and educational attainment.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Kennedy, 2003. "Immigrant Mental Health and Unemployment," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 92, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:92

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    2. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
    3. Ezzy, Douglas, 1993. "Unemployment and mental health: A critical review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 41-52, July.
    4. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-727, September.
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    More about this item


    Immigrants; Mental health; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J69 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Other

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