Trauma, Discrimination, and Psychological Distress Across Vietnamese Refugees and Immigrants: A Life Course Perspective


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Vietnamese Americans are a heterogeneous group with varied migration histories. The life course perspective (LCP) suggests that different migration histories (immigrant vs. refugee) may affect their psychological health. Using Vietnamese refugee (n = 291) and immigrant (n = 211) subsamples from the National Latino and Asian American Study, selected LCP factors relevant to foreign-born Vietnamese were examined for their associations with psychological distress. Two separate regressions were conducted to examine differential factors across the subgroups. Results showed that sex, age at immigration, and pre- and post-migration traumas were significant factors for refugees. Among immigrants, only racial discrimination was significant factor. The results suggest that applying LCP among Vietnamese Americans helps to discern factors associated with their psychological distress outcomes depending on their initial immigration status. The results also indicate that healthcare professionals should consider the migration background of foreign-born Vietnamese in screening for potential psychological issues, particularly around their trauma history and discriminatory experiences.

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