Children left behind during immigration: Repercussions on the mental health of Latin-American mothers and fathers

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The mental health of immigrants. This study aimed to compare the psychological symptoms reported by immigrant mothers and fathers who took their children with them with those who left their children behind. The sample comprised 213 Latin American immigrants (123 women and 90 men). The results showed that mothers who did not have their children with them reported more psychological symptoms than those who did. Few differences were observed in the case of fathers, except that those who had their children with them reported more symptoms related with somatization. After controlling for possible confounding variables (‘time since immigration’, ‘having a job’, ‘legal status’ and ‘social support’) it is concluded that for mothers not being accompanied by one’s children explains the largest proportion of the psychological symptoms analyzed, although the time since immigration also accounts for some of the variance in the case of depressive symptomatology and general distress. It is likely that the despair and frustration felt by mothers grows as time goes on and they remain unable to reunite the family. These results may be useful in terms of designing prevention and intervention programs with immigrant mothers.


Teresa Kirchner
Camila Patiño
Maria Forns

Fecha de publicación 09 de diciembre de 2011
Fecha de aceptación 09 de diciembre de 2011
Medio indexado (nombre)

Anuario de Psicología, vol. 41, nº 1-3, diciembre 2011, pp. 107-122

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