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Unravelling migrants' health paradoxes: a transdisciplinary research agenda
  1. Maria Roura
  1. Public and Patient Involvement Research Group, Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Maria Roura, Public and Patient Involvement Research Group, Graduate Entry MedicalSchool, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland; maria.roura{at}ul.ie

Abstract

The Social Determinants of Health literature has consistently found that a higher socioeconomic status is associated with better health outcomes even after adjusting for traditional risk factors. However, research findings in the field of Migrants’ Health suggest that the socioeconomic/health gradient does not always behave as expected for migrants and their descendants. The mismatch of findings in these two long-standing parallel research traditions is exemplified by frequent reports of paradoxical findings in the scientific literature: the healthy migrant paradox, the ethnic density paradox and the diminishing returns paradox. This paper outlines a transdisciplinary research agenda to elucidate the social processes that underpin these disconcerting findings and calls for a shift from a pathogenic deficit model that sees migrants as a burden to their reconceptualisation as actively engaged citizens in search of solutions. Amidst a severe refugee crisis, fears of terrorist attacks and political capitalisation of these tragedies to foster antimigrant sentiments, this is urgently needed.

  • Migrants’ heath
  • ethnic studies
  • social determinants of health
  • participatory research methods
  • qualitative methods
  • trans-disciplinary research
  • public and patient involvement
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Footnotes

  • Contributors MR conceived and wrote this paper with insights and contributions from Professor Ailish Hannigan, Professor Anne MacFarlane and Dr Nazmy Villarroel-Williams.

  • Funding MR is currently funded by the Irish Health Research Board, as part of the project "Ethnic Minority Health in Ireland - Building the evidence base to address health inequities" (HRA-PHR-2015-1344).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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