Methods: Data came from the 2012-2013 iteration of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC-III), an extensive, nationally representative surveys of noninstitutionalized U.S. adults ages 18 or older sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Participants included households and randomly selected according to a multistage probability sample design. A total of 3,441 immigrant respondents born in Latin America were assessed for meeting DSM-5 criteria for depression, assessed for childhood support, childhood trauma and provided scores for self-reported health. Four research questions were analyzed to identify potential relationships between health and depression outcomes and 1) emotional support in childhood,2) immigration classification (child vs adult migrant), 3) moderation effects between childhood environments and adult social supports and 4) differences by countries.
Results: Multivariable binomial logistic regression analyses indicated that emotionally supportive childhoods and interpersonal support in adulthood lowered the odds for lifetime major depressive disorder in some health models. These relationships differed between childhood arrival and adult arrival immigration samples and across countries and regions. Childhood arrival status was also consistently associated with decreased odds of depression. Increased childhood support was statistically significant in contributing to decreased depression outcomes and varied in its relationship to self-reported health. Across models, interpersonal support in childhood and adulthood were consistently associated with decreased odds of meeting criteria for depression, however findings differed for self-reported health.
Conclusions and Implications: This study concludes that continued and more nuanced strengths-based investigations are warranted that examine the essential social resources across lifespans and their role in mitigating adverse health outcomes among diverse immigrants. Overall, the study findings point to the need for increased attention to sources of support and resilience for immigrants from Latin America. Specifically, findings from this study highlight the role social support in critical developmental periods has on immigrant health and depression outcomes, wherein socially supportive environments are positively associated with positive health outcomes. In line with previous research, findings from this study demonstrate the need for continued and more current investigations that look at essential social resources across the lifespan and their role in mitigating adverse outcomes.