The Children Left Behind: The Impact of Parental Deportation on Mental Health

Abstract

The current report describes the results of the first known study examining the impact of parental deportation on the mental health of children using psychometrically reliable and valid assessment instruments. Participants reported on the current internalizing and externalizing problems of children under their care using the Spanish language version of the Child Behavior Checklist and completed a trauma history and demographic questionnaire that asked specifically about parental deportation status. Children with a deported parent (n = 23) were significantly more likely to display externalizing and internalizing problems than children whose parents were not deported or in the process of deportation (n = 52). Associated demographic characteristics and trauma history were controlled in these analyses. The results are discussed in the context of evolving immigration policy in the United States.

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Correspondence to Brian Allen.

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Allen, B., Cisneros, E.M. & Tellez, A. The Children Left Behind: The Impact of Parental Deportation on Mental Health. J Child Fam Stud 24, 386–392 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-013-9848-5

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Keywords

  • Child mental health
  • Deportation
  • Spanish language
  • Cultural issues
  • Parenting