Programme no. 133-OP
Public Health
A case–control study of self-reported health, quality-of-life and general functioning among recent immigrants and age- and sex-matched Swedish-born controls
Monica Löfvander*1, Jerzy Leppert2
1Centre for Clinical Research Västmanland – Uppsala University,Centre for Clinical Research Västmanland – Uppsala University,Västerås,Sweden;Center for Family Medicine,Dpt of Neurobiology, Caring Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet,Huddinge,Sweden;Family and Preventive Medicine, Uppsala University, Sweden,Dpt of Public Health and Caring Sciences,Uppsala,Sweden, 2Centre for Clinical Research Västmanland – Uppsala University, Västerås, Sweden,Centre for Clinical Research Västmanland – Uppsala University, Västerås, Sweden,Västerås,Sweden
* = Presenting author
Objectives:

To examine whether new immigrants had inferior quality of life, well-being and general functioning compared with Swedish age- and sex-matched controls. We hypothesized that the new immigrant group would have significantly inferior health, well-being and social functioning than the SB group at baseline and that this difference in favour of the Swedish born group would be more evident during the following year.

Background: Self-rated health and social well-being are important predictors for morbidity and mortality. Studies of Qulity of life (QoL) are thus valuable with regard to organization of health care. Research can be carried out with questionnaires established for worldwide use in multicultural settings. Immigrants as a groupseem to be at risk for mental ill health supposed as caused by a mix of pre- and post-migration stress. In Sweden, well-being and QoL have not been investigated among recently arrived immigrants. Very little is known about their global functioning in comparison to the indigenous Swedish population.
Results: There were 93 pairs (mean age 36 years). Somalians (67%) and Iraq (27%) dominated the PPS group. The differences between the groups were statistically significant for all time points for the Psychological health and Social relationship domains of WHOQOL-BREF, and for the baseline and 6-month follow-up time points of GHQ-12 where the PPS-group had a higher degree of well-being, health and quality of life than the SB. This tendency applied for both sexes in the immigrant group. Instead, the SB persons’ self-ratings of their psychological health and social relations were significantly lower than those of PPS persons.
Material/Methods: A prospective case–control study was designed including immigrants from non-European countries, 18–65 years, with recent Permanent Permits to Stay (PPS) in Sweden and age- and sex-matched Swedish-born (SB) persons from the general population in Västmanland County, Sweden. GHQ-12, the WHOQOL-BREF Scale and the GAF from DSM – IV were posted (SB), or applied in personal interviews (PPS) with interpreters. Differences between the PPS and SB groups were measured using McNemar’s and Wilcoxon signed-rank test conducted separately for observations at baseline, 6- and 12-month follow-up.
Conclusion: These new immigrants did not have inferior physical or psychological health, quality of life, well-being or social functioning compared with Swedish born pairs during their first year. Therefore there is reason to focus on new immigrants’ self-assurance regarding good health rather than possible ill-health aspects.

Points for discussion: This study took place under certain time, location and with certain persons. What does that mean for transferrability of results?