Rice U. psychologist: Back and forth over DACA increases ‘mistrust and hopelessness’ for those affected

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


David Ruth

Amy McCaig

Rice U. psychologist: Back and forth over DACA increases ‘mistrust and hopelessness’ for those affected

HOUSTON – (Jan. 25, 2018) – As President Donald Trump and politicians in Washington debate the future of immigration in the United States, Luz Garcini, a postdoctoral research fellow in psychology at Rice University, is available to discuss the mental health risks for individuals living in the U.S. without proper documentation.

Garcini said she hopes a decision will be reached regarding DREAMers in the U.S. because the current situation and “back and forth” in terms of decision-making increases uncertainty among the community, which is associated with high anxiety and fear among the population.

“It is important that this ‘back and forth’ stops because it increases mistrust and hopelessness, which over time increases mental health risk,” she said.

Garcini’s research focuses specifically on how these individuals’ mental health is affected as a result of facing constant institutional and societal exclusion. She said that DREAMers, or immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as small children and who meet the requirements of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, are most susceptible to mental health distress because of the unique position they are in.

“Often these DREAMers are the cultural brokers for their families,” Garcini said. “Because they speak English and are highly acculturated, they must frequently navigate the system for their families. This type of leadership role can be very mentally taxing.”

In her research, Garcini has witnessed the shortage of Latino clinical psychologists, particularly faculty conducting research on the complex mental health needs of Latino immigrants, as well as providers that can attend to the needs of immigrants from a context-sensitive perspective.

“More research and funding are needed to document the devastating effects of the current socio-political context on the mental health of immigrants living in the U.S. without documentation, which is needed to inform advocacy, policy and intervention efforts,” Garcini said.

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Garcini, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at amym@rice.edu or 713-348-6777.


This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu.

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Recent Garcini research:

More than 80 percent of immigrants living in US without authorization have history of trauma

Immigrants living in the country without authorization at risk for anxiety and depression

DREAMers at greater risk for mental health distress

Related materials:

Rice University Department of Psychology: http://psychology.rice.edu

Rice University School of Social Sciences: http://socialsciences.rice.edu

Photo link: http://news.rice.edu/files/2017/10/pexels-photo-568027-1lwfvkb.jpeg

Photo credit: Pexels.com

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.