Social Integration, Health Behaviour and Well-Being Among Immigrants

Research question/goal: 

In this project, we study the relation between social integration and the physical and mental well-being of migrants, paying special attention to the role of health-related behaviours. We combine psychological theory and methods on health with sociological theory and methods on integration.

Well-being is an important aspect of migrants’ integration into host societies, and has received increasing attention in integration research. Observational field studies and experimental laboratory studies have shown that health behaviours, such as physical exercise, improve physical and mental well-being. In this project, we examine in how far, via which mechanisms, and under what conditions these behaviours can buffer against the stress of migration for recent migrants. In addition, day-to-day health behaviours such as eating but also certain types of physical exercise are highly social activities. We are particularly interested in how social networks influence these health-related activities and vice-versa. We want to study how these mutual influences between social integration and health behaviours relate to well-being of migrants long-term. Specifically, we will focus on whether ethnically homogenous vs. mixed networks may have different indirect effects on well-being via health behaviours. We approach these questions with a mix of survey-based and experimental methods.

Current stage: 

In 2022, we wrote a manuscript on the association between cultural identity and health behaviour using the CILS4EU data and submitted it for publication. Furthermore, we conducted a major meta-analysis examining the causal relation between discrimination and well-being; this manuscript has been invited for resubmission. We also ran two ecological momentary assessment studies to investigate how (through which mechanism) physical activity can promote well-being and cultural identity in the face of daily migration-specific stress. Based on the findings, we have submitted a funding proposal to the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Fact sheet

Funding: 
MZES
Duration: 
2018 to 2024
Status: 
in preparation
Data Sources: 
Secondary data (e.g., CILS4EU, IAB-BAMF-SOEP), experimental data (to be collected)
Geographic Space: 
Germany

Publications