Differences in Late-Life Depression among Intra-European Migrants

Maximilian Frentz-Göllnitz , University of Rostock, University of Groningen
Benjamin Aretz , University of Rostock, University of Groningen
Gabriele Doblhammer , University of Rostock

Research shows that migrants are more vulnerable to mental health problems than non-migrants in the host population, while comparisons between migrants and non-migrants in the origin population are inconclusive. It is also unclear whether sex differences in mental health are equally present in these different settings. This study aims to investigate inequalities in late-life depression between intra-European migrants and non-migrants as well as between men and women from both destination and origin perspectives. We used longitudinal SHARE data (2004-2020, ages 65+) from 16 countries and estimated logistic GEE models to assess the risk of late-life depression. We compared migrants from former socialist countries (FSC) and Southern Europe (SE) residing in Central Europe (CE) with (1) non-migrants from CE (destination perspective: 34,087 cases) and with (2) non-migrants from SE/FSC (origin perspective: 36,408 cases). The results showed that migrants from SE have a higher risk of late-life depression than non-migrants in CE and non-migrants from SE/FSC. Migrants from FSC were at increased risk compared with non-migrants from CE, while there was no difference to non-migrants from SE/FSC. Stratified results by sex revealed that differences between migrants and non-migrants were only significant among women but not men. Our study demonstrates that migration background and sex are associated with mental health among older intra-European migrants. Statements on the health of migrants may be also dependent on the reference population. Our findings call for social and public health policies to support migrant women, which may help reduce mental health inequalities among older adults in Europe.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P1. Postercafe