Stress and Psychopathology in Latin-American Immigrants: The Role of Coping Strategies

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Investigación y estudios

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Introduction: Increased migration into Spain requires the development of preventive strategies that help both immigrants and the host society to deal with the associated risk factors and thus avoid the emergence of psychopathology.

Objective: To determine the level of psychopathology in Latin-American immigrants who reside in Barcelona and its relationship to the coping strategies used to mitigate the effects of the stress linked to migration. Method: The sample comprised 210 Latin-American immigrants over the age of 18. Sampling was based on consecutive cases, and participants were contacted through an NGO. Results: Employment is the stressor that most affects immigrants. Psychopathological symptoms are common among the immigrant population, and there is a relationship between the use of avoidance coping strategies and greater symptomatology. The longer immigrants have been in the host country, the less they make use of approach strategies. Conclusions: The migratory process produces high levels of stress that are linked to psychopathology.  Being subjected to a prolonged stressor has a destabilizing effect on both mental and physical health and can lead to a deterioration in social relationships due to more intense feelings of anger and frustration.

Coping strategies appear to be more widely used among im- migrants than in the indigenous population, and this may indicate the high levels of stress to which the former are subject and the attempts they make to deal with it. The limitations of the study include the source of data collection and the fact that most of the instruments used have not been validated in the participants’ countries of origin.


Camila Patiño
Teresa Kirchner

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Fecha de publicación 07 de noviembre de 2008
Fecha de aceptación 07 de noviembre de 2008
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Psychopathology 2010;43:17–24

Etiquetado como: stress

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