What Is Known About the Health of Married Migrants in Asia? A Scoping Review

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Zhiyuan Yu, BSN
School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Background. The number of marriage migrants in Asia, mostly women from developing Asian countries who migrate for marriage to men from wealthier Asian countries, has grown tremendously over the past three decades. However, little is known about the health of this growing population. Methods. Following Arksey & O'Malley (2005)’s scoping review framework, this scoping review aims to synthesize knowledge on the health of Asian marriage migrants and provide recommendations for researchers and practitioners. English language research databases (EBSCOhost, PubMed, PsychINFO, BioMed Central, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, WHO Global Health Library, and Google Scholar) and newspaper articles (Newspaper Source Plus, The straits Times, LexiNexis Academic, and International Newsstand) were reviewed. Results. Sixty-four eligible research and thirty newspaper articles were included. Five research focus areas were identified—mental illnesses, public health concerns, barriers to healthcare services, general well-being and social challenges. Newspaper topics include abuse and domestic violence, multiple and multilevel vulnerabilities and challenges, public health concerns and issues with their native husbands. Variations in newspaper tones are also described. This review also highlighted nurses’ significant contribution on understanding health of marriage migrants—nurses represent almost half of the first authors of the included research articles. Discussion. Overall, marriage migrants experienced worse health outcomes, multiple barriers to health care services, and multilevel social challenges compared with the native population in the receiving countries. The health immigrant effect (HIE)—immigrants on average having better health outcomes than the native population—was observed among marriage migrants for certain health conditions, but for limited amounts of time. Implications for nursing: In response to the increase in diversity, immigration and globalization, nursing educational reform with a new curriculum that emphasizes cultural competency and diversity is needed to prepare healthcare providers, especially nurses, in these receiving countries to provide high quality care for diverse populations, including marriage migrants, with complex needs at various settings.