Psychological Distress and Adjustment of Vietnamese Refugees in the United States: Association With Pre- and Postmigration Factors

Dina Birman, Nellie Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how pre- and postmigration factors affect the psychological distress and adjustment for a community sample of Vietnamese refugees resettled in the United States. The sample included a substantial proportion of ex-political detainees who experienced a particularly large number of traumatic events prior to migration. Additionally, the study assessed postmigration experiences using multidimensional and bidirectional measures of acculturation to the Vietnamese and American cultures and measures of satisfaction with social support from like-ethnic and host culture network members. Psychological adjustment and distress were assessed with depression, anxiety, alienation, and life satisfaction. Findings show that premigration traumatic experiences predicted only measures of anxiety. The other measures of adjustment and distress were predicted by postmigration factors, including acculturation and social support. In sum, findings suggest that different psychological outcomes are predicted by different pre- and postmigration factors, suggesting that adjustment is a complex process that involves multiple indicators and dimensions. Significant differences were also found between ex-political detainees and other Vietnamese refugees suggesting the importance of considering their unique experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume78
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Social Adjustment
Acculturation
Refugees
Social Support
Anxiety
Asian Americans
Depression
Psychology
Emotional Adjustment
Psychological Distress
Psychological

Keywords

  • acculturation
  • ex-political detainees
  • migration
  • refugee
  • Vietnamese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

@article{dca1ea8244e84a739abbc6005524e2ba,
title = "Psychological Distress and Adjustment of Vietnamese Refugees in the United States: Association With Pre- and Postmigration Factors",
abstract = "The purpose of this study was to examine how pre- and postmigration factors affect the psychological distress and adjustment for a community sample of Vietnamese refugees resettled in the United States. The sample included a substantial proportion of ex-political detainees who experienced a particularly large number of traumatic events prior to migration. Additionally, the study assessed postmigration experiences using multidimensional and bidirectional measures of acculturation to the Vietnamese and American cultures and measures of satisfaction with social support from like-ethnic and host culture network members. Psychological adjustment and distress were assessed with depression, anxiety, alienation, and life satisfaction. Findings show that premigration traumatic experiences predicted only measures of anxiety. The other measures of adjustment and distress were predicted by postmigration factors, including acculturation and social support. In sum, findings suggest that different psychological outcomes are predicted by different pre- and postmigration factors, suggesting that adjustment is a complex process that involves multiple indicators and dimensions. Significant differences were also found between ex-political detainees and other Vietnamese refugees suggesting the importance of considering their unique experience.",
keywords = "acculturation, ex-political detainees, migration, refugee, Vietnamese",
author = "Dina Birman and Nellie Tran",
year = "2008",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1037/0002-9432.78.1.109",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "78",
pages = "109--120",
journal = "American Journal of Orthopsychiatry",
issn = "0002-9432",
publisher = "American Orthopsychiatric Association Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Psychological Distress and Adjustment of Vietnamese Refugees in the United States

T2 - Association With Pre- and Postmigration Factors

AU - Birman, Dina

AU - Tran, Nellie

PY - 2008/1

Y1 - 2008/1

N2 - The purpose of this study was to examine how pre- and postmigration factors affect the psychological distress and adjustment for a community sample of Vietnamese refugees resettled in the United States. The sample included a substantial proportion of ex-political detainees who experienced a particularly large number of traumatic events prior to migration. Additionally, the study assessed postmigration experiences using multidimensional and bidirectional measures of acculturation to the Vietnamese and American cultures and measures of satisfaction with social support from like-ethnic and host culture network members. Psychological adjustment and distress were assessed with depression, anxiety, alienation, and life satisfaction. Findings show that premigration traumatic experiences predicted only measures of anxiety. The other measures of adjustment and distress were predicted by postmigration factors, including acculturation and social support. In sum, findings suggest that different psychological outcomes are predicted by different pre- and postmigration factors, suggesting that adjustment is a complex process that involves multiple indicators and dimensions. Significant differences were also found between ex-political detainees and other Vietnamese refugees suggesting the importance of considering their unique experience.

AB - The purpose of this study was to examine how pre- and postmigration factors affect the psychological distress and adjustment for a community sample of Vietnamese refugees resettled in the United States. The sample included a substantial proportion of ex-political detainees who experienced a particularly large number of traumatic events prior to migration. Additionally, the study assessed postmigration experiences using multidimensional and bidirectional measures of acculturation to the Vietnamese and American cultures and measures of satisfaction with social support from like-ethnic and host culture network members. Psychological adjustment and distress were assessed with depression, anxiety, alienation, and life satisfaction. Findings show that premigration traumatic experiences predicted only measures of anxiety. The other measures of adjustment and distress were predicted by postmigration factors, including acculturation and social support. In sum, findings suggest that different psychological outcomes are predicted by different pre- and postmigration factors, suggesting that adjustment is a complex process that involves multiple indicators and dimensions. Significant differences were also found between ex-political detainees and other Vietnamese refugees suggesting the importance of considering their unique experience.

KW - acculturation

KW - ex-political detainees

KW - migration

KW - refugee

KW - Vietnamese

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=43149125846&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=43149125846&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/0002-9432.78.1.109

DO - 10.1037/0002-9432.78.1.109

M3 - Article

C2 - 18444733

AN - SCOPUS:43149125846

VL - 78

SP - 109

EP - 120

JO - American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

JF - American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

SN - 0002-9432

IS - 1

ER -