Eva M. Klein , 1 , Elmar Brähler 1 , Katja Petrowski 1 , 2 , Ana N. Tibubos 1 , Mareike Ernst 1 , Jörg Wiltink 1 , Matthias Michal 1 , Philipp S. Wild 3 , 4 , 5 , Andreas Schulz 3 , Thomas Münzel 5 , 6 , Jochem König 7 , Karl Lackner 8 , Norbert Pfeiffer 9 , Manfred E. Beutel 1
13 July 2020
Studies in immigrant youth have suggested differences in parenting patterns by immigration status. Knowledge of variation in recalled parenting pattern and its distinctive impact on mental health in adult immigrants, however, is limited. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to investigate similarities and differences in recalled maternal and paternal rearing behavior and its association with depressiveness in adult 1st generation immigrants compared to non-immigrants.
Seven hundred and forty-three 1st generation immigrants ( M = 57.4, SD = 10.1 years) and 6518 non-immigrants ( M = 60.3, SD = 10.7 years) participated in a population-based study. Regarding countries of origin, the largest subgroups were immigrants from Eastern-Europe, Former-SU, and Arabic-Islamic countries. All participants completed the ultra-short version of The Recalled Parental Rearing Behavior-questionnaire and the PHQ-9 assessing depressiveness. Multiple linear regressions with depressiveness as outcome variable were analyzed separately for each facet of parental rearing behavior adjusting for socio-demographic and migration-related variables.
In addition to differences in depressiveness and socioeconomic status, 1st generation immigrants recalled both their mothers and fathers as more controlling and overprotecting than non-immigrants. Parental emotional warmth was negatively associated with depressiveness across all groups. The relationship between parental control, respectively parental rejection and depressiveness, however, varied in direction and severity between the groups.
The results support the notion that parental warmth is a universal protective factor against depressiveness, whereas the impact of parental control on mental health might be more culturally influenced. Analyses point to the importance of considering the unique contribution of fathers’ rearing behavior on mental health, particularly in immigrant samples.