How does migration impact on mental health and emotional wellbeing of migrants? A case study of 25 Filipino migrants in the United Kingdom

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis presents findings from a qualitative case study to explore the experiences and perceptions of 25 Filipino migrants in the United Kingdom (UK) on how migration has impacted their mental health and emotional well-being. Through semi-structured interviews and participant observation, this study determined the factors Filipino migrants associated with their mental health and emotional well-being, and what coping strategies they have used to deal with the impacts of migration.
Although migration is a well-researched phenomenon, little is known about how Filipino migrants conceptualise mental health, nor is there a great deal of qualitative research on how their mental health is impacted by the experience of migration. The main thesis of this study was the significance of culture in the migrants’ understanding of mental health and in making sense of their migration experiences.
Guided by Bhugra’s framework (2004), this study found sociological and economic factors that were associated with mental health including loss of social support, loss of identity, discrimination and racism, and financial obligation to the family. This study showed that for economic migrants, the voluntary nature of their migration and their motivation to migrate factored in coping with the impact of migration. Culturally appropriate coping strategies that correspond to Filipino values and norms include faith, religion, social support, or togetherness, and fulfilling the obligation of providing economic support to the family.
This study offers another way of understanding the role of the family of the migrants and challenges some concepts of the migrant behaviour model where sending remittances is seen as an intertemporal contractual arrangement. Instead, the study highlights the deeply rooted sense of obligation by the migrants to fulfil their provider role.
Finally, this study showed how qualitative research using a case study design could investigate a sensitive topic such as mental health and provide a voice to research participants. Using participant observation proved effective in understanding the dynamics of relationships within social groups and how culture manifests in social interactions.
Original languageEnglish
  • Keating, Frank, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2024

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