Colombians in the United States: A Study of Their Well-Being


  • Cándida Madrigal San Francisco State University



Colombians, immigrants, well-being, ethnic identity, self-esteem


This study examined the extent to which four factors—acculturation, ethnic identity, self-esteem, and resilience—can explain the well-being of Colombian immigrants in the United States across three waves of immigration (wave 1, from 1945–1964; wave 2, from 1965–1989; and wave 3, from 1990–2008). The results indicate that of the four factors, self-esteem most correlated with and was a predictor of well-being. Participants exhibited high levels of well-being as their level of self-esteem increased. Ethnic identity negatively predicted well-being, especially for men who entered during wave 3; as the extent of their ethnic identity increased, their well-being decreased. Correspondingly, Colombians who entered as political refugees reported a lower level of well-being. This research was groundbreaking in assessing factors contributing to the well-being of Colombian immigrants and assisting in the search for appropriate scales to study this population. Although its results have to be considered with caution, the study opens doors to future research, policies, and programs regarding the mental health assessment and treatment of Colombians in the United States.

Author Biography

Cándida Madrigal, San Francisco State University

Cándida Madrigal, Ph.D., MSW Telephone: 415/405-4088 Assistant Professor San Francisco State University, Department of Social Work 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132