Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Mental Well-Being of Migrants in Urban Center of India: Analyzing the Role of Social Environment

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Mental Well-Being of Migrants in Urban Center of India: Analyzing the Role of Social Environment

Article excerpt

Byline: Ghuncha. Firdaus

Background: Rural to urban migration has become a salient feature of the country. However, there is a dearth of study highlighting impact of this movement on mental health of the migrant people. Aims: The main objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between specific components of social environment and psychological well-being of migrants in an urban center. Settings and Design: The National Capital Territory of Delhi was selected for intensive study and has an exploratory design supported by cross-sectional primary data. Methodology: A standardized questionnaire was used to obtain data about the socioeconomic characteristics of the respondents. For measuring the mental well-being, the World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO5) was used. The required information was procured through interview method from 1230 sampled respondents. Statistical Analysis: Influence of socioeconomic variables on mental well-being of the people was estimated through multivariate logistic regression methods. For different combinations of risk factors, five models were developed based on unstandardized likelihood coefficients. Results: Poor mental health was significantly higher among single/widow/divorced/separated (odds ratio [OR] =0.76, P < 0.01), unskilled (OR = 2.26, P < 0.01), daily wager (OR = 2.57, P < 0.01), and illiterate (OR = 2.55, P < 0.01). Longer year of immigration, younger age, and higher income level (P < 0.001) were positively related to mental health. Poor housing conditions (P < 0.001), adjustment problem (P < 0.001), and feeling insecure (P < 0.01) were independent predictors of poor mental health. Conclusion: Socioeconomic and environmental problem caused by the migrants and faced by the migrants is required in-depth study to formulate comprehensive policies.

Introduction

Rapid urbanization has become a global phenomenon. The percentage of the population residing in urban areas is projected to gain 3.1 billion, passing from 3.3 billion in 2007 to 6.4 billion in 2050 worldwide. Virtually, all of the world's population growth will be absorbed by the urban areas of the less developed regions, whose population is projected to increase from 2.4 billion in 2007 to 5.3 billion in 2050.[sup][1] The situation in India is not different from the rest of the world. A process of rapid urbanization has already been making strides in the form of the growth of big cities and urban agglomerations due to poverty induced rural-urban migration. In the word of Kingsley Davis, it is a process of “over-urbanization” where in urban misery and rural poverty exist side by side. The present movement toward urban living has become one of the most important global health issues of the 21[sup]st century.[sup][2],[3] More recently, there is ample evidence indicating toward increasing mental health problems in urban centers of developing countries.[sup][4],[5],[6]

The idea that urban living is detrimental to mental health is a notion that has received a fair amount of attention, but most of the research has been conducted in developed countries. This has been referred to as the 90/10 gap, where 10% of the research and funding takes place in developing countries which experience 90% of the global burden. As far as the prevalence rate of mental health problem in India is concerned, the numerous epidemiological studies reported varying prevalence rates ranging from 9.5 to 370/1000 population in the country. According to another study, about 20% of the adult population in the community are affected with one or the other psychiatric disorder.[sup][7] Furthermore, numerous studies show great variation in the prevalence rates of all mental disorders between rural and urban areas. According to the previous studies, the prevalence rate was 70.5/1000 for rural areas, 73/1000 for urban areas, and 73/1000 for both rural and urban areas. …

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