“We Went Out to Explore, But Gained Nothing But Illness”: Immigration Expectations, Reality, Risk and Resilience in Chinese-Canadian Women with a History of Suicide-Related Behaviour
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Suicide is a complex and tragic outcome driven by biological, psychological, social and cultural factors. Women of Chinese descent and women who have immigrated to other countries have higher rates of suicidal ideation and behaviour, and immigration-related stress may contribute. To understand the experiences of immigration and their relationship with distress and suicide-related behaviour in Chinese women who have immigrated to Canada. 10 semi-structured qualitative interviews with Chinese women who have immigrated to Toronto, Canada and have a history of suicide-related behaviour were completed and analyzed using a constructivist grounded theory methodology. Immigration-related and acculturation stress stemmed from unmet expectations and harsh realities. These repeated experiences resulted in hopelessness, helplessness, and alienation, which are risk factors for suicide and suicide-related behaviour. However, immigration-related support can also increase hope, self-efficacy and connectedness to foster recovery and resilience. This is the first qualitative study focusing on immigration experiences and its relationship to suicide-related behaviour in Chinese immigrant women. Knowledge of immigration and acculturation stressors can a) help identify and support women at risk for suicide and b) form a target for social intervention for all immigrant women, regardless of suicide risk.
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