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Mental disorders in migrants : the role of income

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Title: Mental disorders in migrants : the role of income
Author(s): Ketonen, Eeva-Leena
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Degree program: Master 's Programme in Social Research (SOSM)
Specialisation: Demography
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
The share of migrants in the Finnish population has grown rapidly in recent years and the significance of migrants in the labor force is growing. It is therefore important to have more information about the health of this population group. Income is a major determinant of health, including mental health. This master’s thesis examines the role of income in incidence of mental disorders among first-generation working age migrants in Finland. A random sample of Finnish working age population in 2010 was included in the study. The register data was used to define the first psychotropic medication purchase between January 1st 2011 and December 31st 2014 to assess the risk of a mental disorder. Cox proportional hazards models was used to investigate the association between the region of origin and the use of psychotropic medication in low- and high-income groups and compared to Finland-born population. Association between migrant status and the use of psychotropic medication in income quartiles was also assessed. It was found that migrants have better mental health than their Finnish counterparts do when psychotropic medication is used as a proxy for mental disorders. It was also found that low-income migrants use psychotropic medication clearly less than low-income Finns do. In higher income categories, the difference between migrants and Finns is less pronounced and it eventually disappears. The results may reflect difficulties to seek and receive help in the mental health service system, especially amongst low-income and newly arrived migrants in Finland.
Keyword(s): mental disorders migrants income psychotropic medication register-based study

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