Integration of immigrants into a new culture is related to poor sleep quality

  • Background: This article reports on the relationship between cultural influences on life style, coping style, and sleep in a sample of female Portuguese immigrants living in Germany. Sleep quality is known to be poorer in women than in men, yet little is known about mediating psychological and sociological variables such as stress and coping with stressful life circumstances. Migration constitutes a particularly difficult life circumstance for women if it involves differing role conceptions in the country of origin and the emigrant country. Methods: The study investigated sleep quality, coping styles and level of integration in a sample of Portuguese (N = 48) and Moroccan (N = 64) immigrant women who took part in a structured personal interview. Results: Sleep quality was poor in 54% of Portuguese and 39% of Moroccan women, which strongly exceeds reports of sleep complaints in epidemiologic studies of sleep quality in German women. Reports of poor sleep were associated with the degree of adoption of a German life style. Women who had integrated more into German society slept worse than less integrated women in both samples, suggesting that non-integration serves a protective function. An unusually large proportion of women preferred an information-seeking (monitoring) coping style and adaptive coping. Poor sleep was related to high monitoring in the Portuguese but not the Moroccan sample. Conclusion: Sleep quality appears to be severely affected in women with a migration background. Our data suggest that non-integration may be less stressful than integration. This result points to possible benefits of non-integration. The high preference for an information-seeking coping style may be related to the process of migration, representing the attempt at regaining control over an uncontrollable and stressful life situation.
Author:Ursula Voss, Inka Tuin
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Health and quality of life outcomes
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2008
Date of first Publication:2008/08/10
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2008/09/23
Tag:Coping Style; Immigrant Woman; Life Style; Poor Sleep; Sleep Quality
Issue:Art. 61
Page Number:6
First Page:1
Last Page:6
© 2008 Voss and Tuin; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Source:Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2008, 6:61; doi:10.1186/1477-7525-6-61 ;
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 2.0