Associations of Migration, Socioeconomic Position and Social Relations With Depressive Symptoms – Analyses of the German National Cohort Baseline Data

  • Nico Vonneilich
  • Heiko Becher
  • Barbara Bohn
  • Berit Brandes
  • Stefanie Castell
  • Andreas Deckert
  • Nico Dragano
  • Claus-Werner Franzke
  • Arnand Führer
  • Sylvia Gastell
  • Halina Greiser
  • Thomas Keil
  • Carolina Klett-Tammen
  • Lena Koch-Gallenkamp
  • Lilian Krist
  • Michael Leitzmann
  • Claudia Meinke-Franze
  • Rafael Mikolajczyk
  • Ilais Moreno Velasquez
  • Nadia Obi
  • Annette Peters
  • Tobias Pischon
  • Marvin Reuter
  • Tamara Schikowski
  • Börge Schmidt
  • Matthias Schulze
  • Dmitry Sergeev
  • Andreas Stang
  • Henry Völzke
  • Christian Wiessner
  • Hajo Zeeb
  • Daniel Lüdecke
  • Olaf von dem Knesebeck


Objectives: We analyze whether the prevalence of depressive symptoms differs among various migrant and non-migrant populations in Germany and to what extent these differences can be attributed to socioeconomic position (SEP) and social relations.

Methods: The German National Cohort health study (NAKO) is a prospective multicenter cohort study (N = 204,878). Migration background (assessed based on citizenship and country of birth of both participant and parents) was used as independent variable, age, sex, Social Network Index, the availability of emotional support, SEP (relative income position and educational status) and employment status were introduced as covariates and depressive symptoms (PHQ-9) as dependent variable in logistic regression models.

Results: Increased odds ratios of depressive symptoms were found in all migrant subgroups compared to non-migrants and varied regarding regions of origins. Elevated odds ratios decreased when SEP and social relations were included. Attenuations varied across migrant subgroups.

Conclusion: The gap in depressive symptoms can partly be attributed to SEP and social relations, with variations between migrant subgroups. The integration paradox is likely to contribute to the explanation of the results. Future studies need to consider heterogeneity among migrant subgroups whenever possible.

Bibliographical data

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18.07.2023