Quality of life of immigrants and nonimmigrants in psychiatric rehabilitation.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study examined whether personal characteristics of consumers with serious mental illness (SMI), including being an immigrant, explained the lack of concordance in quality-of-life (QOL) ratings reported by consumers versus those reported by staff caring for consumers. Method: In a sample of consumers with SMI (n = 4,956), including nonimmigrants and immigrants from Ethiopia and countries comprising the former Soviet Union (FSU), we examined consumer-reported and staff-reported QOL ratings. Regression models measured the contributions of covariates to QOL ratings made by both groups. Results: Staff-reported QOL ratings were consistently lower than consumer-reported QOL ratings. Consumer-reported QOL ratings made by FSU immigrants were lower than consumer-reported QOL ratings made by Ethiopian immigrants or by nonimmigrants (p < .01). Conversely, staff-reported QOL ratings on Ethiopian immigrants were lower than staff-reported QOL ratings on FSU immigrants or nonimmigrants (p < .05). While consumer-reported QOL ratings were associated with the covariates of gender (p < .01), disability level (p < .001), and health status (p < .001), staff-reported QOL ratings were associated with the covariates of single marital status (p < .05), education (p < .001), and disability level (p < .001). Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Among consumers with SMI, FSU immigrants reported the lowest QOL ratings, yet staff rated the QOL of Ethiopian immigrants as the lowest. Bias is a potential explanation for this discrepancy. An educational program focusing on cultural awareness, sensitivity, and competency might help staff better understand consumers’ needs, thereby contributing to better service and potentially improving staff’s ability to make assessments of consumers’ functioning and QOL. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Impact and Implications—This study found that staff-reported quality of life (QOL) ratings on consumers with severe mental illness (SMI) were consistently lower than the consumer-reported QOL ratings, for both immigrant and non-immigrant consumers. Additionally, this study found that the lack of concordance between staff-reported and consumer-reported QOL ratings tended to differ by immigrant status as well as by immigrants’ country of origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association


  • immigrants
  • posthospitalization
  • quality of life
  • staff assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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