Mental Health and Resilience in Youth of Deported Parents: A Case Series
AuthorCoulter, Kiera Midori
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBackground: The United States has pursued stricter immigration enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in the deportation of approximately 2 million individuals over the past decade. This is significant in that deported persons are often caregivers of children, who are then placed at an elevated for developing mental health disorders (e.g. anxiety and depression). Mental health in youth of deported parents is a new topic to academic literature, and this study specifically examines mental health, coping strategies, and resilience in five adolescents of deported parents in Tucson, Arizona. Methods: This study employed mixed-methods, where participants completed two self-report surveys (the DASS-21 and brief COPE inventory) and a semi-structured interview with the researcher. Participant's survey responses and interviews were analyzed to assess their symptomology of depression, anxiety, and stress, exhibition of maladaptive and adaptive coping behaviors, and the factors that influence their resilience post-deportation. Results: The results of the DASS-21 found that participants experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, but in varying degrees. The data from the brief COPE inventory suggested that participants mostly refrained from maladaptive coping behaviors (e.g. substance use), but were not drawing from critical adaptive coping strategies like getting emotional support. The interviews revealed that certain risk factors (poverty, living instability, rapid transition to adulthood, and poor academic performance) and promotive factors (family networks, school, group activities, and future orientation) moderate their resilience following deportation. The qualitative data also revealed that participants desire and are not connected to mental health services. Conclusions: The study suggests that youth of deported parents are able to be resilient and avoid negative coping behaviors when experiencing the trauma of familial separation. However, given mild-extremely severe symptomology of depression, anxiety, and stress of participants, it was notable that none of the participants mentioned being connected to or seeking mental health services. Thus, this study's result underscore the need for a comprehensive school-based health system where mental health assistance can be provided on-site.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Mexican American Studies