Mexican immigration to the U.S., the occurrence of violence and the impact of mental disorders

Guilherme Borges, Claudia Rafful, Daniel J Tancredi, Naomi Saito, Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Maria Elena Mora Medina, Joshua Breslau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To study immigration, U.S. nativity, and return migration as risk factors for violence among people of Mexican origin in the U.S. and Mexico. Methods: Cross-sectional surveys in the United States (2001-2003; n=1,213) and Mexico (2001- 2002; n=2,362). Discrete time survival models were used. The reference group was Mexicans living in Mexico without migrant experience or a migrant relative. Results: Mexican immigrants in the U.S. have lower risk for any violence (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.5, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.4-0.7). U.S.-born Mexican-Americans were at higher risk for violence victimization of a sexual nature (for sexual assault, HR = 2.5, 95%CI 1.7-3.7). Return migrants were at increased risk for being kidnapped or held hostage (HR = 2.8, 95%CI 1.1-7.1). Compared to those without a mental disorder, those with a mental disorder were more likely to suffer any violence (HR = 2.3, 95%CI 1.9-2.7), regardless of the migrant experience. Conclusions: The impact of immigration on the occurrence of violence is more complex than usually believed. Return migrants are more likely to suffer violence such as being held hostage or beaten by someone other than a partner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalRevista Brasileira de Psiquiatria
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Hispanic American
  • Immigration
  • Mental disorder
  • Mexican-American
  • Survey
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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