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Return migration in later lifeInternational perspectives$
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John Percival

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447301226

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447301226.001.0001

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‘The past is a foreign country’: Vulnerability to mental illness among return migrants

‘The past is a foreign country’: Vulnerability to mental illness among return migrants

Chapter:
(p.195) Ten ‘The past is a foreign country’: Vulnerability to mental illness among return migrants
Source:
Return migration in later life
Author(s):

Gerard Leavey

Johanne Eliacin

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447301226.003.0010

This chapter focuses on the impact of emigration earlier in life on older people's wellbeing and mental health; in doing so, it draws on sociological and psychoanalytical perspectives that have come to light in recent research, in regard to a number of different migration flows. In pursuing this line of enquiry, the chapter takes into consideration biological, environmental and cultural factors, as well as issues of race and class. Furthermore, the chapter re-examines the concept of ‘the myth of return’: the failed ambition of returning to homeland and the likely existentialist anxieties provoked as a consequence. This re-examination also explores the psychological wellbeing of those who do realise their wish to return, usually in middle to later life, as they attempt to manage contrasting feelings of gain and loss, familiarity and alienation, when resettling in a community long since transformed.

Keywords:   Mental health, Psychological wellbeing, Adjustment, Myth of return

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