The Catalyst

Dr. Yeo published paper

Dr. Ana Younsook Yeo received confirmation that her research titled “Healthy Immigrant Effect on Older Adult Immigrants in Relation to Welfare Reform” will be published in the Journal of the Society for Social Work Research. Below is the abstract for the research article:


Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, Vol 4, No 3 (2013)


Younsook Anna Yeo, Miriam M Johnson



The term healthy immigrant effect refers to a phenomenon in which immigrants who newly arrived to a host country are healthier than their native-born counterparts, but such advantages disappear with time in the new country. Researchers suggest individuals should consider self-screening for emigration based on their health status in relation to the demands of relocating and the opportunities anticipated in the host countries. However, few researchers have studied whether patterns of the healthy immigrant effect among older adult immigrants are related to the welfare policies of the host countries. To fill this gap, this study uses data from the 1993–1996 (N= 40,479) and 2002–2008 (N = 65,995) National Health Interview Survey. These timeframes reflect implementation of U.S. welfare reforms. Immigrants who enter the United States in the post-welfare reform era are restricted from receiving public assistance, including Medicaid, unless they are naturalized citizens or live in immigrantfriendly states. Study results show older adult immigrants who entered the United State before welfare reforms were implemented reported poorer health than their U.S.-born counterparts, but those disadvantages diminished over time after immigration (i.e., a reverse healthy immigrant effect). However, older adult immigrants entering the United States in the post-welfare reform era report better health than their U.S.-born counterparts, but the advantages disappear 5 to 14 years after immigration. Our findings are consistent with those of earlier studies, and suggest the health trends among immigrants support the idea that older adults considering emigration have begun to include the host countries’ welfare policies and related availability of health care among the factors they evaluate in making their decisions to emigrate.

- Mathew Berry

<< Previous  |  Contents  |  Next >>

Untitled Document