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Immigration related psychological distress syndrome associated with loneliness
Levels of perceived loneliness and psychological distress were investigated among 966 adult immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel. Perceived Loneliness Index and Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) were employed as measures of loneliness and psychological distress concerning preimmigration as well as postimmigration periods. On average, the prevalence rate of the perceived loneliness was doubled through immigration: from 18% to 36%. The BSI dimensions' scores were much higher for the lonely group compared to the nonlonely in both immigration stages. We divided all respondents into four groups: permanently lonely -- those who reported loneliness prior to as well as after immigration; recent lonely -- those reporting loneliness only after immigration; former lonely -- those reporting ''loss'' of loneliness after immigration, and never lonely -- those who did not report loneliness neither before or after immigration. Never lonely immigrants were overrepresented (61%) and former lonely -- were underrepresented (3%) in our sample. Among current lonely immigrants 15% were permanently lonely and 21% were recent lonely. Both loneliness and psychological distress significantly increased after immigration but the relationship between these parameters was different in the distinct groups. Multiple regression and factor analyses allowed to establish the immigration related syndromes: psychological distress syndrome associated with loneliness, and general anxiety syndrome not related to loneliness and psychological distress.
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