Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 781–789 | Cite as

The Impact of Parental Migration on the Mental Health of Children Left Behind

  • Ramesh Adhikari
  • Aree Jampaklay
  • Aphichat Chamratrithirong
  • Kerry Richter
  • Umaporn Pattaravanich
  • Patama Vapattanawong
Original Paper


This study aims to examine the impact of parental international migration on the mental health of children left behind. Data for this paper were taken from the “Child Health and Migrant Parents in South-East Asia, Thailand, 2008” project. A total of 1,030 children (519 from emigrant parents and 511 from non-migrant parents) were covered. Data were collected from the caregivers of children using the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire. Multivariate analyses were performed to determine the association between parental migration and the mental health status of children left behind. Several factors were significantly associated with children’s mental health. Our study did not find any association between current parental migration status and mental health status of the children left behind. The study found, however, that mother’s earlier migration history had a significant, independent association with mental health problems of the children left behind. Therefore, effective strategies to prevent such mental health problems among children are warranted.


Migration Mental health Children left behind 



The authors thank the Child Health and Migrant Parents in South-East Asia CHAMPSEA, 2008 project funded by The Wellcome Trust for providing access to the data. This paper is the revised version of the paper which was presented at Population Association of America 2012 annual meeting program [4]. We would like to thank all colleagues and reviewers who have provided comments on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramesh Adhikari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aree Jampaklay
    • 2
  • Aphichat Chamratrithirong
    • 2
  • Kerry Richter
    • 2
  • Umaporn Pattaravanich
    • 2
  • Patama Vapattanawong
    • 2
  1. 1.Geography and Population Department, Mahendra Ratna CampusTribhuvan UniversityKathmanduNepal
  2. 2.Institute for Population and Social ResearchMahidol UniversitySalayaThailand

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