Mental health in immigrant men and women in Australia: The North West Adelaide health study

Melanie Straiton, Janet F. Grant, Helen R. Winefield, Anne Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is conflicting evidence of the healthy migrant effect with respect to mental health. This study aims to determine if there are differences in mental health and service use between Australian-born and foreign-born individuals living in South Australia and to consider the differing role of socio-demographic characteristics for Australian-born and foreign-born men and women. Methods: Data from the North West Adelaide Health study was used to compare foreign-born men and women from English and non-English speaking backgrounds with Australian born men and women on four measures of mental health and service use. A series of logistic regression analyses were conducted. Results: There were no differences between Australian-born and foreign-born individuals from English-speaking backgrounds on any measures. Men from non-English speaking backgrounds had higher odds of depression. Employment and general health were important protectors of mental health for both Australian and foreign-born individuals, while being married was protective for foreign-born men only. Income was generally inversely related to mental health among Australians but the relationship was weaker and less consistent for those born abroad. Conclusions: Men from non-English speaking backgrounds men may be at increased risk of mental health problems but do not have higher levels of treatment. Help-seeking may need to be encouraged among this group, particularly among unmarried, unemployed men from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1111
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Health inequalities
  • Health service use
  • Immigrant health
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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