The influence of migration on the development of psychiatric disorders among first and second generation Greek migrants in Belgium
© The Author(s) 2003
Received: 1 November 2003
Published: 23 December 2003
It is well established that migration represent a risk factor for developing psychopathological problems among the first generation migrants. The scope of the study was to investigate the possibility that migration also play a significant role in the appearance of psychiatric disorders in second generation immigrants.
Material and Method
We conducted a cross-sectional survey involving fifty young second-generation Greek migrant and fifty young Belgian patients matched for the variables of age and gender. The patients were selected from the emergency department of the hospital Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain located in Brussels, Belgium. We compared the previous psychiatric history of the patients, the present clinical state, the family psychiatric history and social & demografic factors between the two groups.
Multivariate analyses showed that the group of the young Greek migrants (GP) presented a statistically significant higher rate of previous family psychiatric history than the Belgian patients (BP). The psychopathology of their parents was developed during the immigration, mainly a few years (1–5) after their arrival in the host country. Furthermore the GP group showed a significant higher percentage of general family psychopathology (affecting all the members) during the present period in comparison with the BP group. We found also a correlation between birth-time of the GP and the period that their parents developed psychopathologie, which was not observed in the group of BP. The GP were born in Belgium or arrived in Belgium very young (less than 7 years old) namely during the period that their parents developed psychiatric pathology.
From our results we can hypothesize that there is a correlation between the traumatic experience of migration with the observed development of psychiatric disorders in second generation Greek migrants in Belgium.