Mental and Physical Health Consequences of Repatriation for Vietnamese Returnees: A Natural Experiment Approach
Hongyun Fu, Tulane University
Mark VanLandingham, Tulane University
While there is much speculation about the potential consequences of repatriation, systematic comparisons of health outcomes employing standard measures and population-based samples of migration returnees and non-returnees are virtually non-existent. This study addresses this significant gap in the empirical literature by employing standard measures of mental and physical health outcomes for comparable samples of repatriated international migration returnees living in Ho Chi Minh City; never-leavers living in the same urban wards; and emigrants from Vietnam who successfully settled in the U.S. (total n=709; data were collected between 2003 and 2005). Key outcome measures examined include eight health subscales from the SF-36; depression; affect balance; blood pressure; BMI and waist-hip ratio; and two behavioral indicators of stress (alcohol and cigarette consumption). The results revealed consistent health disadvantages for the returnees on self-reported mental and physical health outcomes and for blood pressure with respect to our comparison groups of never-leavers and immigrants.