Attitudes among working professionals toward immigrants and refugees living in Ecuador: Impacts on health and well-being

Anne Dressel, Elízabeth Falconí, Heidi Luft, Maren Hawkins, Hugo Noboa, Óscar Betancourt, Alexandria Sedar, Michele G. Shedlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore attitudes toward immigrants and refugees living in Ecuador. Design and Measures: A transnationalism framework informed this qualitative study, which utilized a semi-structured interview guide to elicit responses from participants about their attitudes toward immigrants and refugees. Interviews were conducted in Spanish, audio-taped, transcribed, coded, and analyzed in Spanish to identify emergent themes. Demographic data were analyzed using SPSS. Sample: Participants (n = 50) were recruited from five sectors that interact with refugees: health care, the press, the police, nongovernmental organizations, and education. Fifty interviews were conducted with adults in Quito, Ecuador, in 2017. Results: Participants reported concerns about the health and well-being of immigrants and refugees, expressed a willingness to assist them, but within limits, noted discrimination and bias against refugees, and cited social policies and human rights as factors that influenced their attitudes. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that immigrants and refugees face challenges which impact their health and well-being, according to participants in the study. Social policies can influence attitudes, but are also affected by rapidly shifting immigration patterns. Migration flows in South America is an under-studied area of research, with opportunity for further public health nursing inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-524
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Ecuador
  • global health
  • immigrant and refugee health
  • immigrants
  • refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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