Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Mayur Desai

Second Advisor

Sarah Lowe


Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are immigrants who come to the US through a variety of countries and circumstances. Most studies focus on subsets of immigrant populations, however, this study utilized data from the 2003 New Immigrant Survey, a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey of LPRs (n = 8,573). Participants were grouped into three main visa categories (i.e. Refugees/Asylees/Parolees, Legalization, Family/Employment/Diversity) and the objective was to examine the association between visa status and depression outcomes among adult survey respondents. We used bivariate analyses to measure the relationship between sociodemographic variables and visa status. Approximately 98% of the Legalization category originated from Latin America & the Caribbean (P < .0001) and about 68% had less than high school education (P < .0001). Almost half of Refugees/Asylees/Parolees (46%) and a significant portion of the Legalization group (15%) experienced pre-migration harm (P < .0001). Prevalence of depression in the overall sample was 3.6%. Adjusted and unadjusted logistic regression was performed to examine the relationship between study variables and depression. After controlling for all variables, females were still more likely to have depression than men (adjusted OR [AOR] = 2.01, 95% CI = 1.565, 2.591), and unmarried individuals more likely to be depressed than those who were married (AOR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.193, 1.950). Refugees/Asylees/Parolees (AOR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.076, 2.530) and the Legalization group (AOR = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.229, 2.565) maintained higher odds of depression than the Family/Employment/Diversity group and participants who reported pre-migration harm (AOR = 1.97, 95% CI = 1.330, 2.930) had higher odds of depression than those who experienced no harm. The difference in depression rates by visa status highlights the vulnerability to adverse mental health outcomes of certain groups (i.e. Refugees/Asylees/Parolees and Legalization) and reveals the need for more resources and attention towards immigrant sub-populations.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access