Mixed-Status Families and Immigration Enforcement: Associations Between Parental Coping and Functional Impairment in Latino Citizen Children

Publication Date



Unauthorized immigration status in the US is associated with unique stressors that affect the wellbeing of unauthorized parents (Menjivar, 2006) and have a far-reaching impact on their offspring, including their US citizen children (Capps, Fix, & Zong, 2016). The purpose of this study was to examine the indirect and moderating effects of parental general and religious coping on the relationship between parental immigration status and citizen children’s functional impairment. The study sample included 67 Latino parent-child dyads, consisting of citizen children with unauthorized parents without a history of legal involvement with immigration enforcement (n = 43), and citizen children with an unauthorized parent who had recently been detained or deported (n = 24). Analyses indicated that parental immigration status was positively associated with parental adaptive, positive religious, and negative religious coping, and that parents with a detained or deported spouse endorsed higher rates of these forms of coping. Results also evidenced a significant effect of parental immigration status on child functional impairment as rated by clinician, with children of detained or deported parents rated as exhibiting higher levels of functional impairment. Parent positive religious coping moderated the relationship between parental immigration status and child functional impairment, with moderate to high parental positive religious coping in the detained or deported group being associated with greater child functional impairment. Increased support in accessing concrete and practical resources for managing the stressful life event is recommended for this population.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD, Non-Clinical)

First Advisor

Rojas-Flores, Lisseth

Document Type





Parental deprivation, Hispanic American children, Immigrants, Immigration enforcement, Families




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