Positive changes and appreciation of life among economic immigrants in Scotland

Anna Bak-Klimek, Thanos Karatzias, Lawrie Elliott, Adele Dickson, Rory MacLean

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Existing qualitative studies focused predominantly on exploring immigrants’ stress, distress and coping aimed at reducing stress. Little attention has been paid to immigrants’ psychological growth or positive life changes. In the present study, the impact of post-migration experiences on well-being among economic immigrants has been explored. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of 17 immigrants. Transcripts were analysed by a deductive and inductive thematic analysis. All immigrants reported positive life changes as a result of migration. Experiences related to migration helped immigrants rebuild their sense of self-worth and find ‘mental peace’ after living a demanding and burdensome life in Poland. Immigrants’ accounts also suggested that their thinking and behaviour patterns may be shaped by their cultural values and socio-economic background. Overall, the study indicates that migration is not merely a stressful life event but can have a positive impact on many aspects of immigrants’ lives and may provide opportunities for personal growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-76
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of International Migration and Integration
Issue number1
Early online date23 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • migration
  • well-being
  • psychological growth
  • positive life changes


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