Childrearing Practices Among Sub-Saharan African Migrants in Australia: a Systematic Review

  • Hilda T. MugadzaEmail author
  • Budayi Mujeyi
  • Brian Stout
  • Nidhi Wali
  • Andre M. N. Renzaho
Review Paper



Australian Child Protection practitioners who work with children from sub-Saharan African migrant backgrounds often face challenges when applying child protection laws and policies to address childrearing and parenting issues. The aim of this study is to examine the influence of cultural beliefs, values, attitudes and practices on childrearing practices within sub-Saharan African communities.


The systematic review was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Databases searched included Science Direct, ProQuest Central, Embase, EbescoHOST (Medline; PsychINFO; CINAHL; ERIC; SocINDEX; PsycARTICLES), Web of Science (SCI-EXPANDED; SSCI) and Google Scholar; the search dates were from January 2000 to December 2016. The studies were assessed using the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) and the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology guidelines (STROBE). The search strategy identified 2631 articles, of which 57 met the inclusion criteria for the review. Participants were children aged from three months old to seventeen years and adults aged eighteen years or older.


Data analysis resulted in 7 primary themes: Illness Conception, Traditional Beliefs and Health-seeking Behaviour; Fosterage and Community Responsibility; Family Dynamics; Discipline; Child Spirits and the Supernatural; Body Stimulation; and Female Genital Mutilation.


Framed within the acculturation theory, the review identifies important factors that converge to provide insight into the specific caregiving context of sub-Saharan African families. It further makes clear that, for the most part, the childrearing practices of sub-Saharan African migrants who settle in Australia are influenced by their cultural values and norms.


Childrearing Parenting Styles Culture Child Protection Sub-Saharan Africa 


Author Contribution

H.M. conceptualised and executed the study, analysed the data and led the write up of the manuscript. B.M. contributed to review and analysis of the data. B.S. contributed to the write up of the manuscript and reviewed its content. N.W. contributed to the data search strategy, and A.R. contributed to the design of the project and evaluated the study concept and materials. All authors contributed to the development of this manuscript, reviewed drafts and approved the final version.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10826_2019_1463_MOESM1_ESM.docx (174 kb)
Supplementary information


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Rhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Translational Health Research InstituteWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

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