Research Output

The Determinants of Well-Being Among International Economic Immigrants: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis

  Over the past decades migration has increased dramatically. Most of the scientific literature on immigrant mental health has focussed on stress, distress and mental illness. Less attention has been paid to positive aspects in particular mental well-being. The existing studies among immigrants who move for economic, educational or personal reasons have not been systematically reviewed and analysed to provide an overview of the factors which may affect their subjective well-being. Further, we do not know the extent to which the existing integrative theory of well-being, the Theory of Sustainable Happiness (Lyobumirsky et al. in Review of General Psychology 9:111–131, 2005) derived from research on general population is substantiated by research conducted with immigrants. To address these gaps we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the determinants of well-being among international immigrants. Overall 11 studies met inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. The analyses revealed that social support and dispositional factors (e.g. optimism, self-esteem) are strongly related to well-being whilst circumstantial factors such as income or duration of migration have weak and nonsignificant relationship with it. The findings are consistent with the Theory of Sustainable Happiness (2005) which suggests that circumstantial factors account for much less variance of well-being than dispositional factors because people tend to adapt to their circumstances. The study highlights the critical role of social support and intrapersonal factors in promoting and sustaining well-being of immigrants.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    15 January 2014

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Springer Science + Business Media

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • Library of Congress:

    HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    304 Factors affecting social behavior


Bak-Klimek, A., Karatzias, T., Elliott, L., & Maclean, R. (2015). The Determinants of Well-Being Among International Economic Immigrants: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis. Applied research in quality of life, 10(1), 161-188.



Happiness, Meta-analysis, migrants, systematic review, theory

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