Associations Between Gender, Migration and Integration Stressors, and Health in an Indigenous Mixteco Migrant Community
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AbstractThis dissertation explores the relationships between gender, migration and integration stressors, depressive symptomology, and alcohol and tobacco use within a binational indigenous Mixteco migrant community. The idea of the Mexican immigrant has become homogenized and ignores the heterogeneity of this population. Mexican society consists of a wide range of demographic, ethnic, economic, and political variations; those who emigrate take with them the same social structures and hierarchies. Mexican indigenous people face the double burden of being discriminated against by other Mexicans and by the broader U.S. society.
Chapter 2 examines the association between gender and stressors experienced during migration and integration. Using a series of ordinal logistic regression models, we find that the odds of men experiencing more migration and integration stressors are higher than women. Chapter 3 assesses the association between migration and integration stressors and depressive symptomology, by gender. Several ordinal logistic regression models were fit, and we found that migration stressors and integration stressors predict depressive symptomology. Gender was significant for the relationship between integration stressors and depressive symptomology. Chapter 4 explores the association between migration and integration stressors and substance use, by gender. Logistic regression models were fit, and we found no association between stressors and substance use, except in one model, which shows those who experience more integration stressors are less likely to smoke. Gender was strongly associated with substance use as the odds of men smoking or drinking were 3-4 times that of women. This dissertation is a first step in understanding how gender and ethnicity play a role in the migration experiences of Mexican immigrants. Understanding how this intersectionality drives patterns of health and illness for indigenous migrants is of utmost importance in an era of heightened xenophobia. In paraphrasing social epidemiologist Nancy Krieger, the purpose of studying the effects of discrimination is not to show that oppression is bad; depriving people of human rights, dignity, and love is, by definition, wrong. The purpose is to enable full accountability and to produce knowledge that will be used to guide policies and actions to reduce injustices (Krieger, 2000).
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