Depression trajectories in relatively recent immigrants

Karen J. Aroian, Anne E. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This longitudinal study of 253 ever-depressed former Soviet immigrants (1) examined the life circumstances, demographic characteristics, and immigration demands of individuals whose depression lifted, or who remained or became depressed over a 2-year period; and (2) investigated whether immigration demands, local relatives, age at immigration, gender, education, employment, and marital status differed among the three groups. Depression was determined based on depression scores at baseline and at 2-year follow-up. Forty-three percent of the sample remained depressed, 26% became depressed, and 30% had their depression lift over the course of 2 years. The three groups did not differ with regard to demographic characteristics or loss of employment or a negative change in marital status over the 2-year study period. They did differ with respect to the presence of local family and immigration demands (P < .05). Those who remained depressed were less likely to have family in the area and had the highest immigration demand score at both time points. However, the effect for presence of local family was not significant when immigration demands were included in the analysis (P = .32). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measures revealed that the group whose depression lifted experienced the greatest change in immigration demand scores over the 2-year study period. Our findings argue that clinicians should not expect immigrants' depression to always decrease over time and should assess depression by asking about immigration demands, even if depression was not present during an earlier clinical encounter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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