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The effect of immigration policy reform on mental health in people from minoritised ethnic groups in England: an interrupted time series analysis of longitudinal data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study cohort

Jeffery, Annie, Gascoigne, Connor, Dykxhoorn, Jennifer, Blangiardo, Marta, Geneletti, Sara, Baio, Gianluca and Kirkbride, James B. (2024) The effect of immigration policy reform on mental health in people from minoritised ethnic groups in England: an interrupted time series analysis of longitudinal data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study cohort. The Lancet Psychiatry, 11 (3). 183 - 192. ISSN 2215-0366

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Identification Number: 10.1016/S2215-0366(23)00412-1

Abstract

Background: In 2012, the UK Government announced a series of immigration policy reforms known as the hostile environment policy, culminating in the Windrush scandal. We aimed to investigate the effect of the hostile environment policy on mental health for people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds. We hypothesised that people from Black Caribbean backgrounds would have worse mental health relative to people from White ethnic backgrounds after the Immigration Act 2014 and the Windrush scandal media coverage in 2017, since they were particularly targeted. Methods: Using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, we performed a Bayesian interrupted time series analysis, accounting for fixed effects of confounders (sex, age, urbanicity, relationship status, number of children, education, physical or mental health impairment, housing, deprivation, employment, place of birth, income, and time), and random effects for residual temporal and spatial variation. We measured mental ill health using a widely used, self-administered questionnaire on psychological distress, the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). We compared mean differences (MDs) and 95% credible intervals (CrIs) in mental ill health among people from minoritised ethnic groups (Black Caribbean, Black African, Indian, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani) relative to people of White ethnicity during three time periods: before the Immigration Act 2014, after the Immigration Act 2014, and after the start of the Windrush scandal media coverage in 2017. Findings: We included 58 087 participants with a mean age of 45·0 years (SD 34·6; range 16–106), including 31 168 (53·6%) female and 26 919 (46·3%) male participants. The cohort consisted of individuals from the following ethnic backgrounds: 2519 (4·3%) Black African, 2197 (3·8%) Black Caribbean, 3153 (5·4%) Indian, 1584 (2·7%) Bangladeshi, 2801 (4·8%) Pakistani, and 45 833 (78·9%) White. People from Black Caribbean backgrounds had worse mental health than people of White ethnicity after the Immigration Act 2014 (MD in GHQ-12 score 0·67 [95% CrI 0·06–1·28]) and after the 2017 media coverage (1·28 [0·34–2·21]). For Black Caribbean participants born outside of the UK, mental health worsened after the Immigration Act 2014 (1·25 [0·11–2·38]), and for those born in the UK, mental health worsened after the 2017 media coverage (2·00 [0·84–3·15]). We did not observe effects in other minoritised ethnic groups. Interpretation: Our finding that the hostile environment policy worsened the mental health of people from Black Caribbean backgrounds in the UK suggests that sufficient, appropriate mental health and social welfare support should be provided to those affected. Impact assessments of new policies on minority mental health should be embedded in all policy making. Funding: Wellcome Trust.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/home
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: Statistics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2024 09:21
Last Modified: 29 May 2024 21:51
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/122177

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