Health literacy, resilience and perceived stress of migrants in Israel during the COVID-19 pandemic

Cheryl Zlotnick, Laura Dryjanska, Suzanne Suckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine perceived stress in migrants guided by Bornstein’s Specificity Principle in Acculturation Science (BSPAS) theoretical framework. Design: Using a cross-sectional study, we recruited English-language migrants (n = 411) living in Israel to respond to an online questionnaire during the COVID-19 pandemic, from 3 April to 16 May 2020. Main Outcome Measures: The dependent variable comprised the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) scores, which attained an internal consistency of 0.91 in this sample. Results: PSS scores were related to lower age (p < 0.0001), being single (p = 0.0095), not possessing high (p = 0.0069) or medium resilience (p = 0.0002), reporting below average SES (p = 0.0196), being “extremely” worried about getting COVID-19 (p < 0.0001), and having high health literacy (p = 0.0007). Additionally, the interaction between health literacy and resilience (p < 0.0001) showed that migrants with high resilience and high health literacy had the lowest perceived stress; and migrants with low resilience and high health literacy had the highest perceived stress. Conclusions: Interventions are needed to assist migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The optimal intervention will aim to address the psychological distress while increasing both health literacy and resilience.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology and Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • COVID-19
  • Immigrants
  • acculturation
  • health literacy
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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