7/12/2017 UNU-MERIT/MGSoG Migration Seminar by Lenore Matthew

The migration seminar series is offered jointly by UNU-MERIT/MGSoG in collaboration with MACIMIDE, and features researchers and practitioners whose work addresses human mobility.

Lenore Matthew (University of Illinois) will present “Mental Health Stressors Among Undocumented Young Adults in the United States: A Review from the Socioecological Perspective”.  The seminar will be held on 7 December 2017 from 13:15-14:15 in the UNU-MERIT building at Boschstraat 24 in room 0.16-0.17. A sandwich lunch will be provided.

Abstract: In the United States, 4.4 million young adults under 30 are living with undocumented status.  Undocumented immigrants are more likely than documented immigrants and native-born citizens to endure negative mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, due to the unique stressors that undocumented immigrants endure. This paper reviews the relevant current literature on mental health stressors among undocumented young adults in the U.S., and organizes the stressors in a way that is meaningful for practitioners serving this population. Using a socioecological model, we find that undocumented young adults are vulnerable to unique mental health stressors at four levels—individual, micro, meso, and macro levels—and that the four levels of stressors interact and reinforce one another. Furthermore, punitive immigration policy permeates all levels of stressors. Policy interventions, namely the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, provide some relief of mental health stressors, but, due to program volatility, do not eliminate them. Ways forward for practice with undocumented young adults are suggested.

Speaker biography:

Lenore Matthew is an applied researcher and clinically-trained social worker, and currently a Doctoral Candidate with the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois in the U.S. Her research focuses on gender, labor market disparities, migration, and intersections thereof. Lenore’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, as policy papers with United Nations agencies, and as book chapters, and has been supported by over 15 fellowships and awards from a range of funders, including the U.S. Department of Education, the Lemann Foundation for Brazilian Studies in São Paulo, and the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program at the University of Illinois.

Lenore has practiced and conducted primary fieldwork in the U.S., Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ireland, and Switzerland, employing a variety of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. In addition to her academic research, Lenore has led published initiatives with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, and the United Nations Volunteer Programme (UNV) in Bonn. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Lenore also practices as a community advocate and social worker for undocumented immigrants from Latin America in the U.S., as well as teaches on diversity and practice with immigrants at the University of Illinois.