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Project-induced migration and depression: A panel analysis

By Sean-Shong Hwang, Yue Cao and Juan Xi


The study examines the mental health consequences of involuntary migration resulting from the world's largest dam project in China. Past claims of a causal link between migration and mental health are inconclusive because they have been based mainly on retrospective data and, therefore, are plagued by a plethora of methodological problems. This study addresses these problems by analyzing the pre- and post-migration changes in depression measured by the CES-D scale with data collected using face-to-face interviews from a sample (n = 1530 for the initial survey and 1070 for the follow-up) consisting of both migrants and non-migrants. Changes in CES-D were analyzed using 'the difference model', an analytical strategy which is agreed by methodological experts as "the method of choice" in establishing causal relationship in quasi-experimental research. Our results provide strong support to the claim that forced migration elevates depression not only directly, but also indirectly by weakening the psychosocial resources that safeguard migrants' mental well-being.Project-induced Migration Depression China Three Gorges project Mental health Migrants

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