This study investigates the effect of social capital on the psychological well-being of Brazilian immigrants in Japan. Social capital in immigrants has drawn considerable attention from sociologists and other social scientists because many advanced countries have accepted a large number of immigrants from other countries. Previous studies of immigration in the US have emphasized the important role of bonding social capital with family and co-ethnic friends in helping immigrants obtain social and emotional support from others. Conversely, other studies of immigration in European countries have suggested that bonding social capital with co-ethnic members does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. These contrasting findings demonstrate that social capital is largely embedded in the institutional settings within which immigrants deploy it. In this study, we explored how the psychological well-being of Brazilian immigrants in Japan depended on different forms of social capital. The results indicate that despite the lack of economic resources in their ethnic communities, Brazilian immigrants benefited significantly from bonding social capital with their extended families in terms of improved mental health. This study suggests that the effectiveness of bonding social capital substantially differs in terms of the objective and subjective realities of immigrants.
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