TitleStress, illness, and the social environment: depressive symptoms among first generation mandarin speaking Chinese in greater Los Angeles.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLi, Y, C Hofstetter, R, Irvin, VL, Chhay, D, Hovell, MF
JournalJournal of immigrant and minority health / Center for Minority Public Health
Date Published12/2014

This study documents the indirect effects of social and environmental variables as mediated by immigrant stress and physical health. Using data from a large dual frame sample of first generation mandarin speaking Chinese immigrants in metropolitan Los Angeles counties with the largest groups of Chinese immigrants, this study uses a path analytic approach to trace how predictors are related to depressive symptoms and to measure direct and indirect influences of variables. Although bivariate analyses suggested that many predictors were associated with depressive symptoms, multivariate path analysis revealed a more complex structure of mediated associations. In the multivariate path analysis only reports of physical health and immigrant stress were directly related to depressive symptoms (P < 0.05), while acculturation, time in the US, income, US citizenship, and distance of persons on whom one could rely were related to stress (but not to physical health status) and only to depressive symptoms as mediated by stress. Age and educational attainment were related to health status (and to stress as mediated by physical health) and to depressive symptoms as mediated by both health and stress. These variables were also unrelated directly to health status and to depressive symptoms. Associations were evaluated using statistical significance, P < 0.05. This study demonstrates the significance of stress and health as mediators of variables in the larger context of the physical environment and suggests that the mechanisms linking ecological characteristics of immigrants to depressive symptoms may be stress and physical health among immigrants.