The physical and mental health problems of refugee and migrant fathers: findings from an Australian population-based study of children and their families.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES:The aim of this study was to report on the physical and mental health of migrant and refugee fathers participating in a population-based study of Australian children and their families. DESIGN:Cross-sectional survey data drawn from a population-based longitudinal study when children were aged 4-5 years. SETTING:Population-based study of Australian children and their families. PARTICIPANTS:8137 fathers participated in the study when their children were aged 4-5 years. There were 131 (1.6%) fathers of likely refugee background, 872 (10.7%) fathers who migrated from English-speaking countries, 1005 (12.4%) fathers who migrated from non-English-speaking countries and 6129 (75.3%) Australian-born fathers. PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES:Fathers' psychological distress was assessed using the self-report Kessler-6. Information pertaining to physical health conditions, global or overall health, alcohol and tobacco use, and body mass index status was obtained. RESULTS:Compared with Australian-born fathers, fathers of likely refugee background (adjusted OR(aOR) 3.17, 95%?CI 2.13 to 4.74) and fathers from non-English-speaking countries (aOR 1.79, 95%CI 1.51 to 2.13) had higher odds of psychological distress. Refugee fathers were more likely to report fair to poor overall health (aOR 1.95, 95%?CI 1.06 to 3.60) and being underweight (aOR 3.49, 95%?CI 1.57 to 7.74) compared with Australian-born fathers. Refugee fathers and those from non-English-speaking countries were less likely to report light (aOR 0.25, 95%?CI 0.15 to 0.43, and aOR 0.30, 95%?CI 0.24 to 0.37, respectively) and moderate to harmful alcohol use (aOR 0.04, 95%?CI 0.10 to 0.17, and aOR 0.14, 95%?CI 0.10 to 0.19, respectively) than Australian-born fathers. Finally, fathers from non-English-speaking and English-speaking countries were less likely to be overweight (aOR 0.62, 95%?CI 0.51 to 0.75, and aOR 0.84, 95%?CI 0.68 to 1.03, respectively) and obese (aOR 0.43, 95%?CI 0.32 to 0.58, and aOR 0.77, 95%?CI 0.61 to 0.98, respectively) than Australian-born fathers. CONCLUSION:Fathers of refugee background experience poorer mental health and poorer general health than Australian-born fathers. Fathers who have migrated from non-English-speaking countries also report greater psychological distress than Australian-born fathers. This underscores the need for primary healthcare services to tailor efforts to reduce disparities in health outcomes for refugee populations that may be vulnerable due to circumstances and sequelae of forced migration and to recognise the additional psychological stresses that may accompany fatherhood following migration from non-English-speaking countries. It is important to note that refugee and migrant fathers report less alcohol use and are less likely to be overweight and obese than Australian-born fathers.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To investigate the prevalence of, and associations between, prenatal and perinatal risk factors and developmental vulnerability in twins at age 5. DESIGN:Retrospective cohort study using bivariate and multivariable logistic regression. SETTING:Western Australia (WA), 2002-2015. PARTICIPANTS:828 twin pairs born in WA with an Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) record from 2009, 2012 or 2015. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:The AEDC is a national measure of child development across five domains. Children with scores <10th percentile were classified as developmentally vulnerable on, one or more domains (DV1), or two or more domains (DV2). RESULTS:In this population, 26.0% twins were classified as DV1 and 13.5% as DV2. In the multivariable model, risk factors for DV1 were maternal age <25 years (adjusted OR (aOR): 7.06, 95%?CI: 2.29 to 21.76), child speaking a language other than English at home (aOR: 6.45, 95%?CI: 2.17 to 19.17), male child (aOR: 5.08, 95%?CI: 2.89 to 8.92), age younger than the reference category for the study sample (?5 years 1?month to <5 years 10 months) at time of AEDC completion (aOR: 3.34, 95%?CI: 1.55 to 7.22) and having a proportion of optimal birth weight (POBW) <15th percentile of the study sample (aOR: 2.06, 95%?CI 1.07 to 3.98). Risk factors for DV2 were male child (aOR: 7.87, 95%?CI: 3.45 to 17.97), maternal age <25 (aOR: 5.60, 95%?CI: 1.30 to 24.10), age younger than the reference category (aOR: 5.36, 95%?CI: 1.94 to 14.82), child speaking a language other than English at home (aOR: 4.65, 95%?CI: 1.14 to 19.03), mother's marital status as not married at the time of twins' birth (aOR: 4.59, 95%?CI: 1.13 to 18.55), maternal occupation status in the lowest quintile (aOR: 3.30, 95%?CI: 1.11 to 9.81) and a POBW <15th percentile (aOR: 3.11, 95%?CI: 1.26 to 7.64). CONCLUSION:Both biological and sociodemographic risk factors are associated with developmental vulnerability in twins at 5 years of age.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To explore the characteristics and compare clinical outcomes of non-Australian born (migrant) and Australian-born users of an Australian national digital mental health service. METHODS:The characteristics and treatment outcomes of patients who completed online treatment at the MindSpot Clinic between January 2014 and December 2016 and reported a country of birth other than Australia were compared to Australian-born users. Data about the main language spoken at home were used to create distinct groups. Changes in symptoms of depression and anxiety were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Item (PHQ-9), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale - 7 Item (GAD-7), respectively. RESULTS:Of 52,020 people who started assessment at MindSpot between 1st January 2014 and 22nd December 2016, 45,082 reported a country of birth, of whom 78.6% (n?=?35,240) were Australian-born, and 21.4% (n?=?9842) were born overseas. Of 6782 people who completed the online treatment and reported country of birth and main language spoken at home, 1631 (24%) were migrants, 960 (59%) were from English-speaking countries, and 671 (41%) were from non-English speaking countries. Treatment-seeking migrant users reported higher rates of tertiary education than Australian-born users. The baseline symptom severity, and rates of symptom reduction and remission following online treatment were similar across groups. CONCLUSIONS:Online treatment was associated with significant reductions in anxiety and depression in migrants of both English speaking and non-English speaking backgrounds, with outcomes similar to those obtained by Australian-born patients. DMHS have considerable potential to help reduce barriers to mental health care for migrants.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Over the past 10-15 years there has been substantial investment in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, to reduce child obesity through interventions in children aged 0-5 years. We report changes in weight and weight-related behaviours of 5-year-old children. DESIGN:Cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2010 and 2015. SETTING:NSW schools (2010 n=44; 2015 n=41) PARTICIPANTS: Australian children in kindergarten (2010 n=1141?and 2015 n=1150). OUTCOME MEASURES:Change in anthropometry and indicators of diet, screen time, school travel and awareness of health recommendations. Additionally, we examined 2015 differences in weight-related behaviours by sociodemographic characteristics. RESULTS:Prevalence of overweight/obesity was 2.1% lower (adjusted OR (AOR) 0.83, 95%?CI 0.67 to 1.04) and abdominal obesity 1.7% higher (AOR 1.35, 95%?CI 0.93 to 1.98) in 2015 than 2010. Significant improvements in multiple weight-related behaviours were observed among children in the highest tertile of junk food consumption (AOR 0.63, 95%?CI 0.50 to 0.80), rewarded for good behaviour with sweets (AOR 0.59, 95%?CI 0.47 to 0.74) and had a TV in their bedroom (AOR 0.65, 95%?CI 0.43 to 0.96). In 2015, children from low socioeconomic neighbourhoods and non-English-speaking backgrounds were generally less likely to engage in healthy weight-related behaviours than children from high socioeconomic status neighbourhoods and from English-speaking backgrounds. Children in these demographic groups were less likely to eat breakfast daily, have high junk food intake and eat fast food regularly. Children from rural areas tended to have healthier weight-related behaviours than children from urban areas. CONCLUSIONS:There were significant positive changes in 5-year-old children's weight-related behaviours but children from low socioeconomic neighbourhoods and from non-English-speaking backgrounds were more likely to engage in unhealthy weight-related behaviours than children from high socioeconomic neighbourhoods and English-speaking backgrounds. The findings indicate that there is a need to enhance population-level efforts and ensure community programmes are targeted and tailored to meet different subpopulation needs.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Immigrants are thought to be healthier than their native-born counterparts, but less is known about the health of refugees or forced migrants. Previous studies often equate refugee status with immigration status or country of birth (COB) and none have compared refugee to non-refugee immigrants from the same COB. Herein, we examined whether: (1) a refugee mother experiences greater odds of adverse maternal and perinatal health outcomes compared with a similar non-refugee mother from the same COB and (2) refugee and non-refugee immigrants differ from Canadian-born mothers for maternal and perinatal outcomes. DESIGN:This is a retrospective population-based database study. We implemented two cohort designs: (1) 1:1 matching of refugees to non-refugee immigrants on COB, year and age at arrival (±5 years) and (2) an unmatched design using all data. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:Refugee immigrant mothers (n=34?233), non-refugee immigrant mothers (n=243?439) and Canadian-born mothers (n=615?394) eligible for universal healthcare insurance who had a hospital birth in Ontario, Canada, between 2002 and 2014. PRIMARY OUTCOMES:Numerous adverse maternal and perinatal health outcomes. RESULTS:Refugees differed from non-refugee immigrants most notably for HIV, with respective rates of 0.39% and 0.20% and an adjusted OR (AOR) of 1.82 (95% CI 1.19 to 2.79). Other elevated outcomes included caesarean section (AOR 1.04, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.08) and moderate preterm birth (AOR 1.08, 95%?CI 0.99 to 1.17). For the majority of outcomes, refugee and non-refugee immigrants experienced similar AORs when compared with Canadian-born mothers. CONCLUSIONS:Refugee status was associated with a few adverse maternal and perinatal health outcomes, but the associations were not strong except for HIV. The definition of refugee status used herein may not sensitively identify refugees at highest risk. Future research would benefit from further refining refugee status based on migration experiences.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Technology is being increasingly used to communicate health information, but there is limited knowledge on whether these strategies are effective for vulnerable populations, including non-English speaking or low-income individuals. OBJECTIVE:This study assessed how language preferences (eg, English, Spanish, or Chinese), smartphone ownership, and the type of clinic for usual source of care (eg, no usual source of care, nonintegrated safety net, integrated safety net, private or community clinic, academic tertiary medical center, or integrated payer-provider) affect technology use for health-related communication. METHODS:From May to September 2017, we administered a nonrandom, targeted survey to 1027 English-, Spanish-, and Chinese-speaking San Francisco residents and used weighted multivariable logistic regression analyses to assess predictors of five technology use outcomes. The three primary predictors of interest-language preference, smartphone ownership, and type of clinic for usual care-were adjusted for age, gender, race or ethnicity, limited English proficiency, educational attainment, health literacy, and health status. Three outcomes focused on use of email, SMS text message, or phone apps to communicate with clinicians. The two other outcomes were use of Web-based health videos or online health support groups. RESULTS:Nearly one-third of participants watched Web-based health videos (367/1027, 35.74%) or used emails to communicate with their clinician (318/1027, 30.96%). In adjusted analyses, individuals without smartphones had significantly lower odds of texting their clinician (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.27, 95% CI 0.13-0.56), using online health support groups (aOR 0.14, 95% CI 0.04-0.55), or watching Web-based health videos (aOR 0.31, 95% CI 0.15-0.64). Relative to English-speaking survey respondents, individuals who preferred Chinese had lower odds of texting their clinician (aOR 0.25, 95% CI 0.08-0.79), whereas Spanish-speaking survey respondents had lower odds of using apps to communicate with clinicians (aOR 0.34, 95% CI 0.16-0.75) or joining an online support group (aOR 0.30, 95% CI 0.10-0.92). Respondents who received care from a clinic affiliated with the integrated safety net, academic tertiary medical center, or integrated payer-provider systems had higher odds than individuals without a usual source of care at using emails, SMS text messages, or apps to communicate with clinicians. CONCLUSIONS:In vulnerable populations, smartphone ownership increases the use of many forms of technology for health purposes, but device ownership itself is not sufficient to increase the use of all technologies for communicating with clinicians. Language preference impacts the use of technology for health purposes even after considering English proficiency. Health system factors impact patients' use of technology-enabled approaches for communicating with clinicians. No single factor was associated with higher odds of using technology for all health purposes; therefore, existing disparities in the use of digital health tools among diverse and vulnerable populations can only be addressed using a multipronged approach.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Limited evidence suggests that people from non-English speaking backgrounds in Australia have lower than average rates of participation in cancer screening programs. The objective of this study was to examine the distribution of bowel, breast and prostate cancer test use by place of birth and years since migration in a large population-based cohort study in Australia. METHODS: In 2006, screening status, country of birth and other demographic and health related factors were ascertained by self-completed questionnaire among 31,401 (16,126 women and 15,275 men) participants aged 50 or over from the 45 and Up Study in New South Wales. RESULTS: 35% of women and 39% of men reported having a bowel cancer test and 57% of men reported having a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, in the previous 5 years. 72% of women reported having screening mammography in the previous 2 years. Compared to Australian-born women, women from East Asia, Southeast Asia, Continental Western Europe, and North Africa/Middle East had significantly lower rates of bowel testing, with odds ratios (OR; 95%CI) ranging from 0.5 (0.4-0.7) to 0.7 (0.6-0.9); migrants from East Asia (0.5, 0.3-0.7) and North Africa/Middle East (0.5, 0.3-0.9) had significantly lower rates of mammography. Compared to Australian-born men, bowel cancer testing was significantly lower among men from all regions of Asia (OR, 95%CI ranging from 0.4, 0.3-0.6 to 0.6, 0.5-0.9) and Continental Europe (OR, 95%CI ranging from 0.4, 0.3-0.7 to 0.7, 0.6-0.9). Only men from East Asia had significantly lower PSA testing rates than Australian-born men (0.4, 0.3-0.6). As the number of years lived in Australia increased, cancer test use among migrants approached Australian-born rates. CONCLUSION: Certain migrant groups within the population may require targeted intervention to improve their uptake of cancer screening, particularly screening for bowel cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Migrant women's overall increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes is well known. The aim of this study was to investigate possible associations between stillbirth and maternal country of birth and other migration related factors (paternal origin, reason for immigration, length of residence and birthplace of firstborn child) in migrant women in Norway. METHODS:Nationwide population-based study including births to primiparous and multiparous migrant women (n?=?198,520) and non-migrant women (n?=?1,156,444) in Norway between 1990 and 2013. Data from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway and Statistics Norway. Associations were investigated by multiple logistic regression and reported as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS:Primiparous women from Sri-Lanka and Pakistan, and multiparous women from Pakistan, Somalia, the Philippines and Former Yugoslavia had higher odds of stillbirth when compared to non-migrant women (adjusted OR ranged from 1.58 to 1.79 in primiparous and 1.50 to 1.71 in multiparous women). Primiparous migrant women whose babies were registered with Norwegian-born fathers had decreased odds of stillbirth compared to migrant women whose babies were registered with foreign-born fathers (aOR?=?0.73; CI 0.58-0.93). Primiparous women migrating for work or education had decreased odds of stillbirth compared to Nordic migrants (aOR?=?0.58; CI 0.39-0.88). Multiparous migrant women who had given birth to their first child before arriving in Norway had higher odds of stillbirth in later births in Norway compared with multiparous migrant women who had their first child after arrival (aOR?=?1.28; CI 1.06-1.55). Stillbirth was not associated with length of residence in Norway. CONCLUSIONS:This study identifies sub-groups of migrant women who are at an increased risk of stillbirth, and highlights the need to improve care for them. More attention should be paid to women from certain countries, multiparous women who had their first baby before arrival and primiparous women whose babies have foreign-born fathers.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To investigate the influence of acculturation, demonstrated by age on arrival, length of residence, interpreter use and having an Australian-born partner, on disparities observed in the risk of stillbirth between migrant and Australian-born populations in Western Australia (WA). METHODS:A retrospective cohort study using linked administrative health data for all non-Indigenous births in WA from 2005-2013 was performed. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Adjusted odds ratios (aOR) for stillbirth in migrants from six ethnicities of white, Asian, Indian, African, M?ori, and 'other', with different levels of acculturation, were compared with Australian-born women using multivariable logistic regression analysis and marital status, maternal age group, socioeconomic status, parity, plurality, previous stillbirth, any medical conditions, any pregnancy complications, sex of baby, and smoking during pregnancy as the covariates. RESULTS:From all births studied, 172,571 (66%) were to Australian-born women and 88,395 (34%) to migrant women. Women from African, Indian and Asian backgrounds who gave birth in the first two years after arrival in Australia experienced the highest risk of stillbirth (aOR 3.32; 95% CI 1.70-6.47, aOR 2.71; 95% CI 1.58-4.65, aOR 1.93; 95% CI 1.21-3.05 respectively) compared with Australian-born women. This association attenuated with an increase in the length of residence in Asian and Indian women, but the risk of stillbirth remained elevated in African women after five years of residence (aOR 1.96 [1.10-3.49]). Interpreter use and an Australian-born partner were associated with 56% and 20% lower odds of stillbirth in migrants (p<0.05), respectively. CONCLUSIONS:Acculturation is a multidimensional process and may lower the risk of stillbirth through better communication and service utilisation and elevate such risk through increase in prevalence of smoking in pregnancy; the final outcome depends on how these factors are in play in a population. It is noteworthy that in women of African background risk of stillbirth remained elevated for longer periods after immigrating to Australia extending beyond five years. For migrants from Asian and Indian backgrounds, access to services, in the first two years of residence, may be more relevant. Enhanced understanding of barriers to accessing health services and factors influencing and influenced by acculturation may help developing interventions to reduce the burden of stillbirth in identified at-risk groups.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Inequalities in maternal and newborn health persist in many high-income countries, including for women of refugee background. The Bridging the Gap partnership programme in Victoria, Australia, was designed to find new ways to improve the responsiveness of universal maternity and early child health services for women and families of refugee background with the codesign and implementation of iterative quality improvement and demonstration initiatives. One goal of this 'whole-of-system' approach was to improve access to antenatal care. The objective of this paper is to report refugee women's access to hospital-based antenatal care over the period of health system reforms. METHODS AND FINDINGS:The study was designed using an interrupted time series analysis using routinely collected data from two hospital networks (four maternity hospitals) at 6-month intervals during reform activity (January 2014 to December 2016). The sample included women of refugee background and a comparison group of Australian-born women giving birth over the 3 years. We describe the proportions of women of refugee background (1) attending seven or more antenatal visits and (2) attending their first hospital visit at less than 16 weeks' gestation compared over time and to Australian-born women using logistic regression analyses. In total, 10% of births at participating hospitals were to women of refugee background. Refugee women were born in over 35 countries, and at one participating hospital, 40% required an interpreter. Compared with Australian-born women, women of refugee background were of similar age at the time of birth and were more likely to be having their second or subsequent baby and have four or more children. At baseline, 60% of refugee-background women and Australian-born women attended seven or more antenatal visits. Similar trends of improvement over the 6-month time intervals were observed for both populations, increasing to 80% of women at one hospital network having seven or more visits at the final data collection period and 73% at the other network. In contrast, there was a steady decrease in the proportion of women having their first hospital visit at less than 16 weeks' gestation, which was most marked for women of refugee background. Using an interrupted time series of observational data over the period of improvement is limited compared with using a randomisation design, which was not feasible in this setting. CONCLUSIONS:Accurate ascertainment of 'harder-to-reach' populations and ongoing monitoring of quality improvement initiatives are essential to understand the impact of system reforms. Our findings suggest that improvement in total antenatal visits may have been at the expense of recommended access to public hospital antenatal care within 16 weeks of gestation.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Limited English proficiency can be a barrier to asthma care and is associated with poor outcomes. This study examines whether pediatric patients in Ohio with limited English proficiency experience lower asthma care quality or higher morbidity. METHODS:We used electronic health records for asthma patients aged 2-17 years from a regional, urban, children's hospital in Ohio during 2011-2015. Community-level demographics were included from U.S. Census data. By using chi-square and t-tests, patients with limited English proficiency and bilingual English-speaking patients were compared with English-only patients. Five asthma outcomes-two quality and three morbidity measures-were modeled using generalized estimating equations. RESULTS:The study included 15?352 (84%) English-only patients, 1744 (10%) patients with limited English proficiency, and 1147 (6%) bilingual patients. Pulmonary function testing (quality measure) and multiple exacerbation visits (morbidity measure) did not differ by language group. Compared with English-only patients, bilingual patients had higher odds of ever having an exacerbation visit (morbidity measure) (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-1.6) but lower odds of admission to intensive care (morbidity measure) (aOR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.2-0.7), while patients with limited English proficiency did not differ on either factor. Recommended follow-up after exacerbation (quality measure) was higher for limited English proficiency (aOR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.4-2.3) and bilingual (aOR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3-2.1), compared with English-only patients. CONCLUSIONS:In this urban, pediatric population with reliable interpreter services, limited English proficiency was not associated with worse asthma care quality or morbidity.