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Hostile and Harmful: Structural Stigma and Minority Stress Explain Increased Anxiety Among Migrants Living in the UK After the Brexit Referendum

Frost, D; (2020) Hostile and Harmful: Structural Stigma and Minority Stress Explain Increased Anxiety Among Migrants Living in the UK After the Brexit Referendum. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology , 88 (1) pp. 75-81. 10.1037/ccp0000458. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: The extent to which the outcome of the EU referendum (“Brexit”) has affected the mental health of migrants living in the UK has been the subject of much speculation. However, no empirical attempts have been made to examine the mental health impact of the Brexit vote. Through the combination of structural stigma and minority stress theories, this study examined the extent to which the outcome of the Brexit referendum was associated with the mental health of migrants in the UK as a result of increased discrimination. / Method: Adult migrants living in the UK (N = 311) participated in a longitudinal survey containing measures of discrimination and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at baseline, one-month and six-month follow-ups. Participant data were matched to official voting records at the electorate level. / Results: The percentage of “Leave” voters where participants lived was associated with increased discrimination, which was in turn associated with increased GAD symptoms, including the likelihood of experiencing clinically significant GAD symptoms over the course of the study (OR = 3.01, 95% CI = 1.25, 7.33). The percentage of leave voters where participants lived was associated with increased GAD symptoms indirectly via increased discrimination (Standardized Indirect Effect = 0.12, 95% BC CI = 0.07, 0.19). / Conclusions: This study demonstrates that voter referenda can have a detrimental impact on migrants’ mental health. Findings illustrate how aspects of structural stigma can produce experiences of minority stress, which can lead to negative mental health outcomes for members of marginalized populations.

Type: Article
Title: Hostile and Harmful: Structural Stigma and Minority Stress Explain Increased Anxiety Among Migrants Living in the UK After the Brexit Referendum
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/ccp0000458
Publisher version: https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/ccp/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Mental Health; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Migrants; Brexit; European Union Referendum
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084064
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