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Nativity status and the relationship between education and health: The role of work-related and psychosocial resources

TitleNativity status and the relationship between education and health: The role of work-related and psychosocial resources
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHawkins, N. S.
Date PublishedMarch
UniversityUniversity of Toronto
CityToronto, ON
Keywordsimmigrant health, immigrant integration, social stress
Abstract

The claim of some policymakers that education is the great equalizer of socioeconomic disparities in health (Low et al. 2005) has come under question in recent years. Higher education is related to better health for both immigrants and the Canadian-born. However, immigrants experience weaker health returns to their education than the native-born (Kennedy et al. 2006). Despite the importance of this issue, the reasons for this gap are not fully understood. This dissertation integrates the immigrant health, social stress, and immigrant integration literatures to better understand this issue, using Cycles 17 and 22 of the Statistics Canada collected General Social Survey (GSS). The analyses reveal that education has a diminished effect on the self-rated health (although not stress) of immigrants, the functional limitations of established immigrants, and the happiness of recent immigrants. The reasons for this gap vary depending on the health measure. The weaker relationship between education and the functional ability of established immigrants and the happiness of recent immigrants is explained by immigrants' lower work-related returns (employment type, occupational skill, personal income) to education. For self-rated health, the nativity status differential in the effect of education on self-rated health is rooted in immigrants' lower work-related and psychosocial returns (mastery and trust, although not social support) to education. Since work-related and psychosocial resources are integrally linked to health, immigrants experience lower health returns to their education than the native-born. These findings make three major contributions. first, they extend the traditional understanding of the relationship between education and health (Low et al. 2005), underscoring that immigrants do not experience the same level of health benefits to their education as the native-born. Second, they augment knowledge about why immigrants experience weaker health returns to their education than the native-born: because they receive diminished employment types, occupational levels, income, mastery, and trust relative to their levels of education. Third, the results highlight that foreign education is not linked to as high mastery and trust as that of the native-born - a new finding that underscores that foreign education is not just linked to diminished work-related resources and health, but psychosocial resources as well.

URLhttps://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/44113
Document URLhttps://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/44113/1/Hawkins_Naoko_S_201403_PhD_thesis.pdf