Open Access Research article

How do psychosocial determinants in migrant women in the Netherlands differ from these among their counterparts in their country of origin? A cross-sectional study

Vera Nierkens1*, Maya V van der Ploeg1, Marja Y van Eer2 and Karien Stronks1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Social Medicine, Academic Medical Center - University of Amsterdam P.O. Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Diakonessenhuis, Paramaribo, Suriname

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:397  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-397

Published: 26 May 2011



Migration of non-Western women into Western countries often results in an increase in smoking prevalence among migrant women. To gain more insight into how to prevent this increase, we compared psychosocial determinants of smoking between Surinamese women in Suriname and those in the Netherlands.


Data were obtained between 2000 and 2004 from two cross-sectional studies, the CVRFO study in Suriname (n = 702) and the SUNSET study in the Netherlands (n = 674). For analyses of determinants, we collected additional data in CVRFO study population (n = 85). Differences between the two groups were analysed by chi-square analyses and logistic regression analyses.


As was found in other studies among migrant women, more Surinamese migrant women in the Netherlands smoked (31%) than women in Suriname (16%). More Surinamese women in the Netherlands than in Suriname had a positive affective and cognitive attitude towards smoking (OR = 2.6 (95%CI 1.05;6.39) and OR = 3.3 (95%CI 1.31;8.41)). They perceived a positive norm within their partners and friends regarding smoking more frequently (OR = 6.5 (95%CI 2.7;15.6) and OR = 3.3 (95%CI 1.50;7.25)).


Migrant women are more positive towards smoking and perceived a more positive norm towards smoking when compared with women in the country of origin. Interventions targeted at the psychosocial determinants regarding smoking for newly migrated women, in particular the consequences of smoking and the norm towards smoking might help to prevent an increase in smoking in those populations.