Mental Health Disparities Between Roma and Non- Roma Unemployment Insurance Beneficiaries in Portugal

  • Pereira H
  • Amaral H
  • Monteiro S
  • et al.
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Background: The Roma population, one of the largest minority groups in Europe, experience discrimination and stigma associated with marginalized social position. Few studies have examined mental illnesses in the Roma, and none have examined the Roma unemployment beneficiaries. The present study estimates mental health among Roma unemployment beneficiaries in comparison to non-Roma beneficiaries in Portugal. Design: A cross-sectional study was carried out. Two clinical psychologists working as research assistants surveyed unemployed individuals looking for jobs at employment agencies. The sample consists of 71 unemployed individuals, beneficiaries of unemployment insurance, and registered in the National Institute of Employment and Professional Training in Portugal. 43.7% were Roma (31) and 56.3% (40) non-Roma. Mean age was 39.93 years old (ranging from 18 to 65 years old; SD = 11.96). Demographics variables were ethnicity, age, gender, marital status, education, and time of unemployment in years. Mental health was assessed using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Results: Results for the comparison of the two samples indicate significant differences for several dimensions of mental health that are more severe for non-Roma participants, namely, Obsessive-Compulsiveness, Interpersonal Sensitivity, Depression, Anxiety, Paranoid Ideation, Psychoticism, and Global Severity. Conclusions: When compared to participants of specific groups of the general population in the same challenging crisis and conjuncture such as unemployment, the Roma participants appear to have specific resilience processes, or some cultural and ethnic specificities when coping with mental health/ disease factors, as evidenced in the lower distress and lower levels of psychiatric disorders when compared to unemployed non-Roma individuals. As such, the unemployment condition seems to have a much more negative impact on the mental health of non-Roma participants than in the mental health of Roma participants. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]




Pereira, H., Amaral, H., Monteiro, S., Esgalhado, G., Afonso, R. M., & Loureiro, M. (2018). Mental Health Disparities Between Roma and Non- Roma Unemployment Insurance Beneficiaries in Portugal. Diversity & Equality in Health and Care, 13(3).

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