Sam Chun-Kang(1), Denise Razzouk(1), Jair J. de Mari(1), Itiro Shirakawa(1) and Luiza Beth Alonso(2)
1. Federal University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2. Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil
Immigration and Mental Health: Stress, Psychiatric Disorders and Suicidal Behavior Among Immigrants and Refugees. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010, 350 pages.
Objectives: This study investigated the frequency of lifetime mental disorders among Korean immigrants in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Methods: Snowball sampling with multiple focuses was used to recruit Korean immigrants older than 18 years and living in Sao Paulo. A total of 324 Korean immigrants were selected and their mental status was evaluated using a structured interview, the Portuguese or the Korean version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 2.1. The diagnoses of mental disorders were made according to the ICD-10. Results: The frequency of any lifetime psychiatric disorder was 41.9%. The frequencies of main disorders were: anxiety disorder, 13.0% (PTSD, 9.6%); mood disorder, 8.6%; somatoform disorders, 7.4%; dissociative disorder, 4.9%; psychotic disorder, 4.3%; eating disorder, 0.6%; any substance (tobacco, alcohol, drugs) use disorder, 23.1%. The frequency of any psychiatric disorder except alcohol and tobacco use disorders was 26.2%. The social and cultural correlates of any psychiatric disorder but substance use or dependence were gender, the perception of prejudice for being immigrants and evaluation of socioeconomic status as low in relation to Korean immigrants in Brazil. Conclusion: The frequency of lifetime psychiatric disorders among Korean immigrants in São Paulo was between the prevalence rates for Koreans in Korea (32.6%) and for the Brazilian population (45.9%). Therefore, Korean immigrants have more psychiatric disorders than the Korean population in Korea, specially PTSD, and almost the same rate as the Brazilian population. Mental health authorities should promote a healthier integration and the development of culturally sensitive mental health programs for Korean immigrants.