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Impacts of Immigration Actions and News and the Psychological Distress of U.S. Latino Parents Raising Adolescents

      Abstract

      Purpose

      U.S. Latino parents of adolescents face unprecedented threats to family stability and well-being due to rapid and far-reaching transformations in U.S. immigration policy.

      Methods

      Two hundred thirteen Latino parents of adolescents were recruited from community settings in a suburb of a large mid-Atlantic city to complete surveys assessing parents' psychological distress and responses to immigration actions and news. Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to describe the prevalence of parents' responses to immigration news and actions across diverse residency statuses. Multiple logistic regression models examined associations between immigration-related impacts and the odds of a parent's high psychological distress.

      Results

      Permanent residents, temporary protected status, and undocumented parents reported significantly more negative immigration impacts on psychological states than U.S. citizens. Parents reporting frequent negative immigration-related impacts had a significantly higher likelihood of high psychological distress than did other parents, and these associations were maintained even when accounting for parents' residency status, gender, education, and experience with deportation or detention. The odds of a parent reporting high psychological distress due to negative immigration impacts ranged from 2.2 (p < .05) to 10.4 (p < .001).

      Conclusions

      This is one of the first empirical accounts of how recent immigration policy changes and news have impacted the lives of Latino families raising adolescent children. Harmful impacts were manifest across a range of parent concerns and behaviors and are strong correlates of psychological distress. Findings suggest a need to consider pathways to citizenship for Latina/o parents so that these parents, many of whom are legal residents, may effectively care for their children.

      Keywords

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      Linked Article

      • The Negative Health Consequences of Anti-Immigration Policies
        Journal of Adolescent HealthVol. 62Issue 5
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          Racism and trauma have well-documented detrimental impacts on the long-term health of children, so it is unsurprising that the United States' recent xenophobic public policies and climate of racial tension is damaging the health of the country's largest population of minority youth, Latinos [1,2]. Since January 2017, the United States has seen widely publicized and debated changes in our immigration policy including restrictions targeting those from Muslim nations, plans to build a wall along the southern U.S.
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