Caregiver separation, Resilience and Peer Attachment in Recently Immigrated Latinx Youth



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Background: Between 32% to 85% of first-generation immigrant Latinx youth experience separation from at least one primary caregiver (Lu et al., 2020; Suarez-Orozco et al., 2002). Research unequivocally associates caregiver separation with detrimental outcomes such as an increased likelihood for emotional and behavioral difficulties (e.g. Lu et al., 2020). Caregiver separation also has the potential to diminish resilience. Previous research suggests strong peer attachments may act as a buffer for negative effects of adversity and promote positive adaptation (e.g. He et al., 2018; Ju & Lee, 2018). Thus, this study sought to examine the relation between caregiver separation and resilience; and investigate the buffering effects of peer attachment in the relationship between caregiver separation and resilience in a sample of recently immigrated adolescents. Method: The sample (n = 60) was composed of adolescents recruited from a high school designed to serve recently immigrated youth. Participant age ranged from 15-25 years old (M=19.71, SD=2.23), and all participants self-identified as Hispanic (100%). Measures for this study included the Migration Experiences Interview (Venta et. al, 2019), the Inventory of Parental and Peer Attachment (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987), and the Resilience Scale (Wagnild & Young, 1993). Results: Analyses indicated a significant effect of separation on resilience scores (F (3, 56) = 4.605, p <.01, η2 = .198). Post-hoc analyses indicated youth who did not experience caregiver separation had significantly higher resilience scores than youth who were separated from both parents. Additionally, analyses revealed moderation effects of peer attachment for youth separated only from their father (b = -.794, p < .05) and separated from both parents (b = .958 p < .05). Analyses indicated that at higher levels of peer attachment, youth separated from both parents had higher levels of resilience. However, youth only separated from their father had lower levels of resilience at higher levels of peer attachment. Conclusion: Results of this study give further insight into the function of peer attachment in resilience among Latinx, immigrant youth after experiencing caregiver separation. Further research should explore the clinical utility of peer-oriented interventions to promote positive adaptation in immigrant, Latinx youth.



immigrant youth, resilience, peer attachment, parent-child separation, caregiver separation