Examining depression and social and emotional development outcomes in parents and children in migrant and seasonal farmworker families
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AbstractMigrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFWs) provide essential food production services in the U.S. yet often experience discrimination, stress related to migration and work, and financial insecurity. Such ecological risk factors unique to agricultural work and being an immigrant of color have previously been shown to heighten MSFW risk for depression. A glaring gap in the literature is that just over half of MSFWs are parents accompanied by their families, and half have children 5-years or younger. This study, guided by the Modified Integrative Model of Child Development for Latinx families, is one of the first to investigate the mental health and social and emotional development outcomes of MSFW families. Specifically, binary logistic regression was conducted using data from the 2017-18 Migrant Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) Study, to examine the relationship between discrimination, work experiences, and cultural resources with the depressive symptomology of caregiving MSFWs. Further, the association of these factors with child social and emotional development outcomes was investigated. MSFWs were mostly women (89%), married or cohabitating with a partner (79%), born outside the U.S. (83%) and mostly from Mexico (80%). All children were 36 months through 5-years of age, just over half were girls (51%), the majority born in the U.S. (93%) and had been enrolled in MSHS for an average of 1.5 years. Results indicated that MSFW caregivers with higher levels of MSFW stress, higher levels of acculturation, and who were separated/divorced had higher levels of depressive symptomology. Children with caregivers with higher levels of depressive symptomology had greater odds of scoring in the range of concern/clinical concern for cognitive social problems. Further, children whose caregivers reported greater importance of religion were less likely to score in the range of concern/clinical concern for emotional behavioral regulation problems. Contrary to this study’s hypothesis, parent depression did not mediate the relationship between contextual factors and child social and emotional development outcomes. Findings are highly significant as they advance understanding of a critically under-studied group and have implications for intervention strategies uniquely suited for this family population. Future research that explores MSFWs’ resiliency along with their structural vulnerability is recommended.
DescriptionUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore. Social Work. Ph.D. 2022.
Migrant agricultural laborers
Emigrants and Immigrants
Hispanic or Latino