Original Research

Dynamics of depressive symptoms and within-country migration among Peruvian women


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Akram Hernández-Vásquez1
MD, MSc, Researcher *

Carlos Rojas-Roque2 MSc, Economist

Rodrigo Vargas-Fernández3 MD

Guido Bendezu-Quispe4 MD, MSc


1 Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru; and Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Vicerrectorado de Investigación, Centro de Excelencia en Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales, Lima, Peru

2 Centro de Investigación en Demografía y Salud (CIDS), León, Nicaragua

3 Universidad Científica del Sur, Lima, Peru

4 Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Vicerrectorado de Investigación, Unidad de Investigación para la Generación y Síntesis de Evidencias en Salud, Lima, Peru

ACCEPTED: 4 March 2020

early abstract:

Introduction: Peru has experienced a significant internal migration from rural to urban areas in recent years. This study estimates the prevalence of depressive symptoms in Peruvian women of childbearing age and their probability of having these symptoms according to the condition of internal migration.

Methods: Data from the 2014-2018 ENDES survey was used. Depressive symptoms were measured using PHQ-9. Adjusted Odds ratios and the marginal effects were estimated to assess associated factors and the probability of having depressive symptoms in relation to internal migration status, respectively.

Results: The prevalence of depressive symptoms (PHQ-9≥10 points) decreased from 2014-2018, as did the prevalence of these symptoms for all the internal migration status. There was a positive relationship between the post-migration residence time and the probability of having depressive symptoms. Furthermore, compared to women in rural areas who never migrated, all of the other migrant statuses were associated with an increased probability of depressive symptoms. Other factors such as being the head of the household, being married/cohabiting or separated/divorced/widowed, smoking, alcohol consumption, diabetes, having an impairment, and living at levels of altitude greater than 500 m were associated with a higher probability of having depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: Despite a reduction in the overall burden of depressive symptoms, the migrant subgroup population has a higher probability of presenting these symptoms. Mental health strategies for migrant women are a priority in Peru.