Born into adversity: Psychological distress in two birth cohorts of second generation Irish children growing up in Britain

Jayati Das-Munshi, C Clark, Michael Dewey, G. Leavey, S. A. Stansfeld, Martin Prince

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
Worldwide, the Irish diaspora experience health inequalities persisting across generations. The present study sought to establish the prevalence of psychological morbidity in the children of migrant parents from Ireland, and reasons for differences.

Methods
Data from two British birth cohorts were used for analysis. Each surveyed 17 000 babies born in one week in 1958 and 1970 and followed up through childhood. Validated scales assessed psychological health.

Results
Relative to the rest of the cohort, second-generation Irish children grew up in material hardship and showed greater psychological problems at ages 7, 11 (1958 cohort) and 16 (both cohorts). Adjusting for material adversity and maternal psychological distress markedly reduced differences. Relative to non-Irish parents, Irish-born parents were more likely to report chronic health problems (odds ratio [OR]: 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.08–1.54), and Irish-born mothers were more likely to be psychologically distressed (OR: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.13–1.84, when child was 10). Effect sizes diminished once material adversity was taken into account.

Conclusions
Second-generation Irish children experienced high levels of psychological morbidity, but this was accounted for through adverse material circumstances in childhood and psychological distress in parents. Public health initiatives focusing on settlement experiences may reduce health inequalities in migrant children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-103
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of public health
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2014

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Born into adversity: Psychological distress in two birth cohorts of second generation Irish children growing up in Britain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this