Effects of neighborhood discrimination towards mainland immigrants on mental health in Hong Kong

Juan Chen, Zhonglu Li, Duoduo Xu, Xiaogang Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Using data from a representative sample of Chinese adults who were surveyed in the Hong Kong Panel Study of Social Dynamics (HKPSSD), we estimate the effects of neighborhood discrimination towards immigrants from Mainland China on the mental health of Chinese residents in Hong Kong. Contrary to our expectations, discrimination towards immigrants from Mainland China measured at the neighborhood level is not associated with the poor mental health of post-1997 immigrants; instead, a higher level of immigrant discrimination is associated with a lower level of psychological distress for both post-1997 Mainland immigrants and other Chinese residents in Hong Kong. A functional family also appears to be a consistent predictor of better mental health for both groups. Our findings, therefore, suggest that immigrant discrimination can signify a prejudice that leads to social distance or avoidance and that the post-1997 Mainland immigrants do not have extensive contact with other local residents in Hong Kong. Although local residents’ discriminatory attitudes may not result in aggressive behaviors that have a negative impact on newcomers’ mental health, the social distance between the immigrants and the local residents is still an issue that requires further research and practical attention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1025
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2019


  • Discrimination
  • Family function
  • Immigrants
  • Mental health
  • Neighborhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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