M.A.S. de Wit
E.J.C. van Ameijden
- Ethnic density is not associated with psychological distress in Turkish-Dutch, Moroccan-Dutch and Surinamese-Dutch ethnic minorities in the Netherlands
- Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
- Volume | Issue number
- 49 | 10
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Purpose: Ethnic density, the proportion of people of the same ethnic group in the neighbourhood, has been identified as a protective factor with regard to mental health in ethnic minorities. Research on the putative intermediating factors, exposure to discrimination and improved social support, has not yielded conclusive evidence. We investigated the association between ethnic density and psychological well-being in three ethnic minority groups in the Netherlands. We also assessed whether a protective ethnic density effect is related to the degree to which each group experiences discrimination and social support at group level.
Methods: Using multi-level linear regression modelling, we studied the influence of ethnic density at neighbourhood level on psychological distress, measured with the Kessler Psychological Distress scale (K10), in 13,864 native Dutch, 1,206 Surinamese-Dutch, 978 Turkish-Dutch and 784 Moroccan-Dutch citizens of the four major cities in the Netherlands. Based on a nationwide survey among ethnic minorities on social integration, ethnic groups were ordered with respect to the intermediating factors.
Results: Ethnic density was not associated with psychological distress in any of the three ethnic minority groups. As a consequence, we found no support for either experiences of discrimination or for own-group social interactions at group level as intermediating factors. In all three ethnic minority groups, as well as in the native Dutch group, individual demographic and socio-economic factors emerged as the main explanations for individuals’ mental well-being.
Conclusions: These results suggest that individual demographic and socio-economic risk characteristics outweigh the influence of neighbourhood attributes on mental health.
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