Depression and Nigerian-born immigrant women in the United States: A phenomenological study

Date
2008-12
Authors
Ezeobele, Ifeoma E.
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Abstract

This phenomenological study, using the Husserlian philosophy, explored the perceptions of Nigerian-born immigrant women in the United States and their portrayal of depression. Through face-to-face, semi-structured, audiotaped interviews incorporating open-ended questions and probes to facilitate discussion, the study examined a purposive sample of 19 Nigerian-born immigrant women's perception of depression. Data was analyzed using Colaizzi's seven step method of data analysis. The findings from the study uncovered six themes: (a) craziness and madness, (b) curse and evil spirit possession, (c) denial and secrecy, (d) isolation and rejection, (e) spirituality and religion, and (f) need for education. Findings indicated that Nigerian-born women were not able to differentiate depression from other types of mental illnesses. The women described depression as something that affects others and not them. The women's perception provided insight into why the clergy was preferred for treatment of depression rather than health care professionals. The findings of the study should increase the awareness of nurses and other health care professionals of the need to focus on evidence-based, culturally specific research, and illuminate issues surrounding depression in this population.

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Keywords
Health and environmental sciences, Social sciences, Depression, Immigrant women, Nigerian women
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