July 16, 2013

Media Advisory: New Psychological Research Explores Government Policy Impacts on Immigrants

American Psychological Association presents special journal issue with leading experts on immigration mental health challenges

WASHINGTON — As major immigration reform legislation makes its way through Congress, the American Psychological Association presents new research examining the mental health impacts that local and national immigration policies can have on immigrants and their families. The July issue of the APA journal Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology explores topics such as how Americans view illegal versus legal immigrants, the impact cultural values have on anti-immigration policies and how the uncertainty of immigration status can negatively affect young students. This special issue follows APA’s Presidential Task Force Report on Immigration (PDF, 409KB), published in 2012, which detailed the multiple psychological risks immigrants may face due to racism, discrimination and racial profiling. 

Articles include: 

“Reasonable Suspicion About Tough Immigration Legislation: Enforcing Laws or Ethnocentric Exclusion?” (PDF, 121KB)
Sahana Mukherjee, MA, Glenn Adams, PhD, and Ludwin Molina, PhD, University of Kansas

  • Support for tough immigration legislation is more likely to reflect people’s opinion that their own culture is superior rather than feeling the need for justice. Contact: Sahana Mukherjee 

“The Complexity and Ambivalence of Immigration Attitudes: Ambivalent Stereotypes Predict Conflicting Attitudes Toward Immigration Policies,” (PDF, 110KB) Christine Reyna, PhD, DePaul University; Ovidiu Dobria, MA, Malcolm X College; and Geoffrey Wetherell, MA, DePaul University

  • A mix of positive and negative stereotypes is found to impact attitudes toward immigrants, according to a study of 414 college students. This research could explain why both attitudes and immigration policies aimed at certain cultural groups are so complex, say the authors. Contact: Christine Reyna 

“Attitudes Toward Unauthorized Immigrants, Authorized Immigrants, and Refugees,” (PDF, 245KB) Kate E. Murray, PhD, and David Marx, PhD, San Diego State University

  • People express more prejudice against and perceive more threats from undocumented rather than legal immigrants, according to this study of 191 college students. The article explores other factors that influence Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants. Contact: Kate Murray 

“¿Y Ahora Qué? Anticipated Immigration Status Barriers and Latina/o High School Students' Future Expectations,” (PDF, 85KB) Ellen Hawley McWhirter, PhD, Karina Ramos, MA, and Cynthia Medina, MS, University of Oregon

  • Latino high school students who anticipate immigration status problems are more likely to feel discouraged from pursuing higher education than Latino students who don’t face immigration problems, according to this study of 475 Latino high school students. Contact: Ellen Hawley McWhirter 

“Expanding our borders: Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology's Special Issue on Immigration,” (PDF, 45KB) Nadine Nakamura, PhD, University of La Verne; Pratyusha Tummala-Narra, PhD, Boston College; and Michael A. Zárate, PhD, University of Texas El Paso

  • A summary of the special issue expands on the need for more research into immigrant populations, particularly how being undocumented affects psychological well-being, including differences and similarities between legal and undocumented immigrants. Contact: Nadine Nakamura 

Other articles in the special issue include:

“The Importance of Family Factors and Generation Status: Mental Health Service Use Among Latinos and Asian Americans,” (PDF, 104KB) Janet Chang, PhD, Trinity College; Misaki N. Natsuaki, PhD, University of California, Riverside; and Chih-Nan Chen, PhD, National Taipei University. Contact: Janet Chang 

“’Hard to Crack:’ Experiences of Community Integration Among First and Second Generation Asian MSM in Canada,” (PDF, 81KB) Nadine Nakamura, PhD, University of La Verne; Elic Chan, PhD, University of Toronto; and Benedikt Fischer, PhD, Simon Fraser University. Contact: Nadine Nakamura 

“Perceived Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms Among Immigrant-origin Adolescents,” (PDF, 153KB) Pratyusha Tummala-Narra, PhD, and Milena Claudius, MA, Boston College. Contact: Pratyusha Tummala-Narra 

“Day Laborers’ Life Satisfaction: The Role of Familismo, Spirituality, Work, Health, and Discrimination,” (PDF, 90KB) Lizette Ojeda, PhD, and Brandy Piña-Watson, MA, Texas A&M University. Contact: Lizette Ojeda 

“’Why We Stay’: Immigrants’ Motivations for Remaining in Communities Impacted by Anti-Immigration Policy,” (PDF, 98KB) Carmen R. Valdez, PhD, Jessa Lewis Valentine, MA, and Brian Padilla, MA, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Contact: Carmen R. Valdez 

“The Colonial Context of Filipino American Immigrants’ Psychological Experiences,” (PDF, 103KB) E. J. R. David, PhD, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Kevin L. Nadal, PhD, John Jay College of Criminal Justice — City University of New York. Contact: E. J. R. David 

“Rejection-(Dis)identification and Ethnic Political Engagement Among First-Generation Latino Immigrants to the United States,” (PDF, 115KB) Shaun Wiley, PhD, Delysha Lawrence, BA, Jessica Figueroa and Rosanna Percontino, College of New Jersey. Contact: Shaun Wiley 

Special Section: “New Developments in Research on Immigration,”
Nadine Nakamura, PhD, Pratyusha Tummala-Narra, PhD, and Michael A. Zárate, PhD. Special Issue Editors; Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Vol. 19, No. 3.

Contact: Michael Zárate, PhD by email or by phone at (915) 747-6569.

Full texts of articles are also available from the APA Public Affairs Office.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.