Heidelberg – Can there be evidence of differences between migrants and non-migrants in Germany with regard to depressive symptoms and, if so, can these differences be attributed to social integration, emotional support and socio-economic position? Scientists from the NAKO consortium investigated these questions in a study1 published in the International Journal of Public Health. For this purpose, the researchers analyzed the data sets of over 200,000 participants in the NAKO Health Study (NAKO) in the period 2014-2019. In this context, education and income were regarded as indicators of the socio-economic position.
As a result, the authors find higher risks for depressive symptoms in migrants and their descendants compared to non-migrants. The researchers emphasize that taking into account the different subgroups and regions of origin, both the risk of depressive symptoms and the effects of income position and educational status vary. In order to avoid distortions, they recommend, with regard to future socio-epidemiological studies, to separately include the heterogeneity within the migrant populations and their descendants when comparing migrants with non-migrants. “The NAKO data”, according to the study, “offer the potential for a differentiated analysis”. Analyzes of changes over time will be possible as soon as the data from the NAKO follow-up are available, the authors conclude.
Some facts (statistics in the PDF version):
Of the 204,878 participants in the baseline (period 2014-2019), over 83% (170,770 people) were non-migrants. 34,108 people (almost 17% of all NAKO participants) were assigned to the category “people with a migration background”. This group sat down again
1st generation migrants without German citizenship (10,525 people, 5.1%) 1st generation migrants with German citizenship (10,752 people, 5.2%) 2nd generation migrants (born in Germany) (9,358 people, 4.6%) German resettlers together (3,473 people, 1.7%)
With regard to the research question about the prevalence of depressive symptoms between the various migrant and non-migrant populations, the scientists were able to use the results to determine a significantly increased risk of depressive symptoms for all migrants, highest in both groups of migrants in the 1st th generation – regardless of citizenship.
1 Nico Vonneilich N, Becher H, Bohn B, Brandes B, Castell S, Deckert A, Dragano N, Franzke CW, Führer A, Gastell S, Greiser H, Keil T, Klett-Tammen C, Koch-Gallenkamp L, Krist L, Leitzmann M, Meinke-Franze C, Mikolajczyk R, Moreno Velasquez I, Obi N, Peters A, Pischon T, Reuter M, Schikowski T, Schmidt B, Schulze M, Sergeev D, Stang A, Völzke H, Wiessner C, Zeeb H, Lüdecke D and von dem Knesebeck O (2023) Associations of Migration, Socioeconomic Position and Social Relations With Depressive Symptoms – Analyses of the German National Cohort Baseline Data. Int J Public Health 68:1606097. doi: 10.3389/ijph.2023.1606097