Depressive Mood Among Within-Country Migrants in Periurban Shantytowns of Lima, Peru

Paulo Ruiz-Grosso, Antonio Bernabe-Ortiz, Francisco Diez-Canseco, Robert H. Gilman, William Checkley, Ian M. Bennett, J. Jaime Miranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In low- and middle-income countries, migration to urban settings has reshaped the sprawl and socio demographic profiles of major cities. Depressive episodes make up a large portion of the burden of disease worldwide and are related to socio-demographic disruptions. As a result of terrorism, political upheaval, followed by economic development, Peru has undergone major demographic transitions over the previous three decades including large migrations within the country. We aimed to determine the prevalence of current depressive mood and its relationship with parameters of internal migration, i.e. region of origin, age at migration, and years since migration. A community-wide census was carried out between January and June 2010 within a shantytown immigrant receiving community in Lima, Peru. One male or female adult per household completed a survey. Depressive mood was assessed with a 2-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CESD) scale. Migration-related variables included place of birth, duration of residence in Lima, and age at migration. Prevalence ratios (PR) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI) were calculated. A total of 8,551 out of 9,561 participants, response rate 89 %, participated in the census. Of these, 8,091 records were analyzed: 71.8 % were women [average age 39.4 (SD 13.9 years)] and 59.3 % were immigrants. The overall prevalence of individuals with current depressive mood was 17.1 % (95 % CI 16.2–17.9 %) and varied significantly by all socio-demographic and migration variables assessed. On unadjusted analyses, immigrants to Lima had higher prevalence of depressive mood if they originated in other costal or Andean areas, had lived in Lima for more than 20 years, or were <30 years of age when they out-migrated. When controlling for age, gender and socio-demographic variables the association was no longer significant, the only exception being a 20 % lower prevalence of current depressive mood among those who out-migrated aged ≥30 years old (PR = 0.79; 95 % CI 0.63–0.98). In conclusion, these results suggest that current depressive mood is very prevalent in this immigrant receiving community. Among all proxies for internal migration explored, in fully adjusted models, there was evidence of an association between age at migration (≥30 years old) and a lower probability of current depressive mood compared to non-migrants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1642
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adults
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Migration
  • Peru


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