This dissertation is a collection of three empirical studies adopting elements from the life course framework for the investigation of immigrants' mental health in European destination countries.
I use nationally representative survey data from the UK (Understanding Society) and France (Trajectoires et Origines 2) to study immigrants' mental health as a dynamic process, as well as how present and past experiences of transnational family separation affects immigrants' mental health.
In the first chapter, I use data from the United Kingdom to test whether the "immigrants' paradox in mental health", the finding that established immigrants tend to have worse mental health than recently arrived ones, is reflective of within-individual mental health deterioration with tenure, or if it rather due to compositional differences between cohorts. I find that the latter is true, and that immigrants’ within-individual mental health variation over time does not differ from that of natives. The second and third chapters investigate the association between transnational family separation and mental health in the UK and in France, respectively. In the second chapter, I study whether adult immigrants that experienced transnational separation from a parent in childhood have worse mental health compared to adult immigrants who migrated with their parents as minors. I find that this is the case for women, but not for men. In the third chapter, I study differences in mental health among immigrant parents by experience of transnational separation from a child. I find that immigrants who are transnationally separated from a child under 16 years old have significantly worse mental health than non-transnational immigrant parents. On the other hand, parents who experienced transnational separation from a child but then reunited have similar mental health as other non-transnational parents, suggesting that reunification is – among parents – a sufficient condition for recovery.
Claudia Brunori is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute (EUI). She currently works as a post-doctoral researcher within the ERC project LIFELONGMOVE at the Centre for Demographic Studies in Barcelona. Before starting her PhD, she obtained a MA in Sociology and Social Research from the University of Trento, a MSc in Sociology from the University of Tilburg, and a BA in International studies at the University of Trento.