International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
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The present study explores the impact of acculturation on depressive symptoms among Turkish immigrants in Germany, taking into account different dimensions of cultural orientation. A total of 471 patients from two selected samples (254 primary care patients and 217 outpatients of a psychosomatic department) participated. Levels of acculturation were measured as orientation towards culture of origin (CO), and orientation towards the host culture (HC). Acculturation strategies (integration, assimilation, separation, and marginalization) were also assessed as well as their association with depressive symptoms (BDI). Furthermore, gender- and migration-related differences in terms of acculturation and levels of depressive symptomatology were analyzed. Integration was the acculturation strategy associated with the lowest level of depressive symptoms (M = 14.6, SD = 11.9), while marginalization was associated with the highest (M = 23.5, SD = 14.7). Gender was not found to have a significant impact on acculturation but influenced depressive symptoms, with women (M = 21.8, SD = 13.3) reporting higher levels of depressive symptomatology than men (M = 15.1, SD = 14.0; p < 0.001). In first generation immigrants, significantly higher CO (M = 46.6, SD = 8.3; p < 0.001), lower HC (M = 31.0, SD = 9.6; p < 0.001), and higher levels of depressive symptoms (M = 20.2, SD = 14.1; p < 0.001) were found in comparison to second generation immigrants (CO: M = 41.3, SD = 7.4; HC: M = 36.2, SD = 8.8; depressive symptoms: M = 14.0, SD = 12.9). Our results suggest that orientation towards both the heritage and the host culture has a positive effect on the mental health status of immigrants. Future research needs to include representative samples of migrants from different cultures to further explore the association between acculturation and mental health.
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