Nativism and Depression Among Undocumented Mexican Immigrant Women



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Anti-immigrant sentiment particularly against Mexicans in the United States has had a dramatic influence on the lives of immigrants and on how they perceive the host society. Today, little research has addressed the extent to which this enmity has affected the mental-well being of immigrants. Based on 30 in-depth interviews in Houston this study investigates the degree to which nativism contributes to depression among Mexican-origin immigrant women. The findings reveal that undocumented status was salient and contributed to symptoms of depression. Additionally, my respondents revealed perceptions of intra-ethnic conflict among Mexican Americans. This thesis further explores how segmented assimilation theory can be expanded to better understand the complexities and nuances that Mexican immigrant women endure taking into consideration immigration status, racial/ethnic identity, and the structural barriers which plays a major role in their integration and mental health well-being.