FSD3434 PROMEQ: Health and Well-being of Immigrants 2017-2018

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Authors

  • Kankaanpää, Reeta (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Veszteg, Csilla (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Ahonen, Tiina (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Anand, Janed (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Mäki-Opas, Tomi (University of Eastern Finland. Department of Social Sciences)
  • Vaarama, Marja (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Forma, Leena (Tampere University)
  • Partanen, Jussi
  • Klavus, Jan (Tampere University)
  • Rissanen, Pekka (Tampere University)

Keywords

health services, health status, immigrants, lifestyle and health, participation, physical activities, public services, quality of life, racism, second languages, social inequality, social networks, social services, trust

Abstract

The survey charted immigrants' social participation, mental and physical well-being, use of social and health services, experiences of discrimination, and attitudes towards work. The data consist of two surveys aimed at immigrants, which were conducted in English: a baseline survey conducted at the beginning of the research (variable id q) and a follow-up survey conducted six months after the baseline survey (variable id b). The data were collected as part of the Inclusive Promotion of Health and Wellbeing (PROMEQ 2016-2019) research project, which studied population groups that need special support. The aim of the PROMEQ project was to develop and demonstrate novel models of promotion of health and wellbeing. Survey data from the other target groups of the project as well as combined data from all surveys are also available at FSD (FSD3432-FSD3436). The research project was funded by the Academy of Finland.

The surveys included many scales and questions used in other studies. The scales and questions were translated into English for the surveys. Questions were selected, for instance, from the Finnish Youth Surveys, as well as the Regional Health and Well-being Study (ATH) and Welfare and Services in Finland (HYPA) surveys conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). Most questions included in the baseline survey were repeated in the follow-up survey.

First, the respondents' current situation in life and language skills were charted. The respondents were asked, for instance, when they had arrived in Finland, on what grounds they had been granted a residence permit, whether they could understand, read and speak Finnish, and how they had learned Finnish (e.g. by taking courses or from friends). Studies and work were examined next with questions focusing on, for example, whether the respondents were planning to apply for higher education in Finland, whether they thought they were fully able to work in Finland, and whether they were confident in their search for work. The main obstacles that the respondents thought might prevent them from working were also surveyed (e.g. limited language skills, lack of education, ethnic background). Views on employment were investigated with questions on, for example, whether the respondents thought doing paid work gives substance and meaning to life and whether women should stay at home and not work outside the home. The surveys also charted the respondents' income, loans and need for financial aid or food assistance.

Next, the respondents' quality of life and satisfaction with various matters were examined. Questions included, for instance, how much the respondents enjoyed life, how safe they felt in their everyday life, whether they had enough energy, and how satisfied they were with their sleep, capacity to work, personal relationships, and access to health services. The respondents' social relationships were surveyed. The respondents were asked whether they often felt lonely and whether they were often in contact with other people, for example relatives or other immigrants living in Finland. Questions also focused on the respondents' sociability and feelings of belonging (e.g. whether they felt they were a part of a friend group, had much in common with people around them, and could find company when they wanted to, or whether they felt left out and isolated). The respondents' participation in group activities was charted, and trust in other people and various Finnish institutions, such as public health care, the judicial system, and municipal decision-making, was examined. The respondents' opinions on their own opportunities in life were also surveyed (e.g. whether they thought they had good or bad opportunities to strive for happiness in their life and to act according to their conscience).

Experiences of unfair treatment and being discriminated against were surveyed next. The respondents were asked what they thought were the main factors (e.g. immigrant background, skin colour, age) behind the lack of respect, verbal insults, threats or harrassment they had received, as well as where they had experienced unfair treatment or discrimination (e.g. police station, KELA, a shop). Different traumatic experiences, such as combat experience, natural disasters, physical violence, and torture, were also investigated, and the respondents were asked whether the past traumatic events had effects on their life at present (e.g. in the form of disturbing dreams or feelings of shock).

Finally, the respondents' use of social and health services was surveyed. The respondents were asked whether they had visited a doctor or other health or social services professional or received employment or translation services or juridical advice in the past 12 months (6 months in the follow-up survey). Additionally, the respondents were asked whether they had bought medication or been in contact with a social or health care employee in the past 12 months. Questions also focused on the respondents' satisfaction with the availability of various social and public services (e.g. library, indoor exercise and youth services), and their participation in group activities promoting health and well-being (e.g. weight management groups, AA, NA). The respondents' lifestyle was examined with questions on their exercise, eating and drinking habits.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's gender, year of birth, marital status, highest level of education, household composition, and economic activity and occupational status. Additionally, the background information included whether the respondent belonged to the test (intervention) or control group.

Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format

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