Psychosocial and mental health impacts of migration on ‘left-behind’ children of international migrant workers. In: Dinesh Bhugra (ed) Oxford Textbook of Migrant Psychiatry

Author/s: Michaella Vanore, Kolitha Prabhash Wickramage, Delanjathan Devakumar, Lucy P. Jordan
Language: English
Publication Type: Book chapter(External)

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Global migration flows include large numbers of labour migrants, many of whom are of prime child-bearing/rearing age and have children who must remain in the origin country during the migration episode. The psychosocial and mental health (PSMH) needs of children and other family members who are separated from migrant kin can be extremely complex and have been largely neglected in research and in intervention frameworks. This chapter explores the PSMH of children who remain in the origin country following parental migration and identifies the interrelated factors at individual, household, and societal levels that shape the influence of migration on child PSMH. A review of empirical evidence from different world regions informs a conceptual framework that identifies pathways of influence between migration and child PSMH. The framework emphasizes that the impact of migration on child outcomes is diverse and shaped by factors and characteristics at micro- (e.g. child sex, child age), meso- (e.g. household composition, community support structures), and macro-levels (e.g. migration policy, domestic laws for child protection). The consequences of parental migration for a child’s PSMH vulnerability or thriving trajectory are far from universal and require a context-specific and nuanced response from healthcare practitioners, clinicians, and policymakers.

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