This study uses data from 16 semi-structured interviews to assess the stressors facing immigrants from Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle. Specifically, I examine the experience of unauthorized migration and the stress associated with the process of migration and life in the US. I rely on theories of Stress Proliferation, the Mestiza Double Consciousness, and the notion of Familismo to provide explanations for why immigrants have stressful lived experiences, starting with their experiences in their home countries and ending with difficult experiences in the US. The goal of this study is to offer insight into the Hispanic Paradox in mental health—the lower rates of illness for Hispanic Americans despite the hardships they face. My data show that immigrants face stressors before, during and after migration, and often describe living in a state of distress, but they do not necessarily conceptualize their distress the same way as the American medical model or even their children (who are American citizens) do. Being undocumented or having an undocumented parent causes a proliferation of stress that, which suggests a need for future research on whether Hispanics truly have lower rates of distress, or whether cultural differences in terms of how particularly first-generation immigrants define and describe distress are affecting the ways mental illness is perceived.
|Advisor:||Smith, Dena T., Adler, Marina|
|School:||University of Maryland, Baltimore County|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||MAI 56/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Sociology, Hispanic American studies|
|Keywords:||Familismo, Health, Hispanic, Hispanic paradox, Immigrant, Stress|
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