All in the Family: Family-Member Migration and the Psychosocial Health of Children in Georgia

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Abstract

Over the past decade, the well-being of children in geographically-dispersed, trans-national families has inspired increasing interest from scholars, yet little research has explored the psychosocial health of children living in such family arrangements in high-migration countries in Eastern Europe. In many countries in the region, large-scale emigration that began in the immediate post-Soviet years has incited intense discourses on the potential impacts of migration on child well-being, yet little research has explored the phenomenon. Georgia is one such country that has experienced high migration, with over one-quarter of its population thought to reside abroad in 2010. Using survey data collected in Georgia in 2012 (CELB-GE), this study compares the psychosocial health outcomes of children with and without migrant family members (n = 1,282) using a measure of psychosocial health derived from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Sequential quantile regression analyses are used to compare child psychosocial health outcomes along the conditional score distribution. The results suggest that migration is only marginally correlated to child psychosocial health. Children with migrant family members did not have worse SDQ outcomes than children without migrant family members, regardless of who specifically (a mother, father, grandparent, or other kin) had migrated. In contrast, other factors such as being verbally abused by a caregiver or living in a contested territory corresponded to significantly worse outcomes among children. These results suggest that the role of migration in influencing child psychosocial health is likely minor compared to other aspects of a child's life such as quality of care giving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-330
Number of pages22
JournalMigration Studies
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

Keywords

  • ATTACHMENT
  • DIFFICULTIES QUESTIONNAIRE
  • EXPERIENCE
  • Georgia
  • STRENGTHS
  • TRANSNATIONAL FAMILIES
  • WAR
  • child psychosocial health
  • transnational families

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