Maternal Separation In The Context Of Immigration: Exploring The Impact Of Immigration Experience And Sending Region On Children'S Educational And Psychological Outcomes
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The literature assumes immigrant children arrive to the United States with their mothers, but this is changing. This study compared left-behind children (mother emigrates first), parachute children (child emigrates first), and family migration (no maternal separation) from Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study measured behavioral, educational, and psychological. Caribbean and Central American left-behind children had longer maternal separation than Asian, p < .01 and p < .05, respectively. Children of family migration had the highest grade point averages (p < .05). An association between high school dropout rates and maternal separation was found (p = .001) and parachute children showed greater behavioral problems (p < .05). Depressive symptoms were higher for Caribbean left-behind children than Caribbean children of family migration (p < .01). Findings suggest that maternal separation negatively affects a significant portion of immigrant children. How policymakers respond to this growing constituency will have serious implications for the United States economy and society. This author recommends that immigration reform consider the diversity of children's immigration experiences and its subsequent impact on their families, educational outcomes and psychological wellbeing.
maternal separation; immigration; children
Human Development and Family Studies
M.A., Human Development and Family Studies
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis