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Psychometrically Relevant Differences between Source and Migrant Populations

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Patrick Brzoska

Psychometrically relevant population differences may limit the transferability of research instruments between migrants and their source population and may contribute to a low performance of quantitative questionnaires. Based on a review of existing taxonomies, this book develops a comprehensive analytical framework of equivalence that can serve multiple purposes. It allows to examine psychometrically relevant population differences, it can assist in the re-adaptation of questionnaires and it is a valuable tool for cross-group comparative research. The application of the framework is illustrated through the examination of equivalence of the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-R) between chronically ill Turks residing in Turkey and Turkish migrants residing in Germany.
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2. Questionnaires in migrant health research

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In the following, the role of quantitative questionnaires in migrant health research will be illustrated. The chapter gives an overview of the social status and health situation of migrants residing in Germany, particularly focusing on Turkish migrants. It explains why, in addition to routine data, survey research is highly necessary to provide a solid informational basis on the health of this population. As the construct of illness perceptions is used as an example in this book, the role of illness perceptions for health outcomes and health care utilization is described and different aspects of the quantitative measurement of illness perceptions are introduced.

2.1 Public health research on migrants in Germany

2.1.1 Demographic and social situation of migrants

Around one-fifth (or 16.0 million) of the German population holds a migration background. According to the legal definition by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Statistisches Bundesamt) this comprises all individuals “who have immigrated into the territory of today’s Federal Republic of Germany after 1949, and (…) all foreigners born in Germany and all persons born in Germany who have at least one parent who immigrated into the country or was born as a foreigner in Germany“ (Statistisches Bundesamt 2013, para. 3). Persons with a migration background (for reasons of simplicity referred to as “migrants” in this book) thus either migrated themselves, i.e., they have an own migration experience, or are descendants of migrants. About half of the migrant population (7.5 million) in Germany has a...

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