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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Serious Psychological Distress and Self-Rated Health of Arab Immigrants in the United States

  • Author(s): Alkaid Albqoor, Maha
  • Advisor(s): Chen, Jyu-Lin
  • et al.


Arab/Middle Eastern immigrants are a fast-growing population in the United States. Research on their physical and mental health is very limited. This descriptive cross-sectional study sought to explore the trends of serious psychological distress and self-rated health of Arab/Middle Eastern immigrants compared to US-born non-Hispanic White population in the past 15 years, and to examine the effect of factors including socioeconomic conditions, acculturation, and family and health related factors. A systematic review of the literature was conducted on SRH of Arab and Middle Eastern immigrants, and data from the National Health Interview Survey (2001-2015) were examined. This study found that greater risk of serious psychological distress among first-generation Middle Eastern immigrants is significantly associated with gender, BMI, and contacting mental healthcare services, and a higher risk of fair/poor SRH in this population is significantly associated with serious psychological distress, aging, alcohol drinking, and presence of a family member with disability. These findings suggest the need for improved immigrants’ healthcare policies that support specific healthcare services among immigrant populations. Some of these healthcare plans should focus on cultural and gender-related barriers.

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