Family Migration Context, Development and Early School Outcomes

Project: Research project

Description

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This project is an exploratory endeavor to adapt the assimilation frameworks employed to assess generational differences in social and economic well-being among adolescents and adults with the ecological developmental framework developed to understand the multiple contextual influences on children's development and academic performance. There is a paucity of research on the extent to which young children of immigrants face differential familial or community environments that would forecast their socio-emotional development and the link between that development and their subsequent academic success. To fill this gap, research needs to go beyond simply attaching a measure of generation status to a study of child development or attaching a metric of child well-being to a study of immigrant children. This research takes an integrative approach that bridges theories of child development with theories of immigrant adaptation. Children of new immigrants face many possible pathways of adaptation in the United States depending on the economic and noneconomic resources of the family and the interactions with the receiving community. If society fails to support immigrant adaptation, particularly immigrants from historically disadvantaged subgroups, we might expect young children of immigrant parents to progress less well than their native counterparts, falling further behind over time. This is especially likely if they encounter less favorable structural conditions within the United States. However, the child's family and ethnic community may bring additional resources to the educational sphere. Thus, the interaction of family background, parental involvement and community context will all influence developmental and educational outcomes for children in immigrant families. A key goal of the research is to go beyond using immigrant status as a proxy for other traits to determine how family migration context, including parents'age at arrival, language background and use, national origins and ethnicity, are related to school readiness and early academic progress. Child development is not a static outcome that can be measured at one point in time and yet few studies of the children of immigrants have been able to take advantage of a longitudinal approach. This project relies on longitudinal data from a birth cohort (ECLS-B) that includes rich observational data along with community level measures appended to the individual data. The research is unique because it not only provides information on the interaction of family background and community characteristics even before formal schooling but also for its focus on changes in family context and practices that could alter outcomes across immigrant groups. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Utilizing longitudinal data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study's (ECLS) birth cohort, the analyses are designed to explore the contribution of various indicators of immigrant status - namely generational status, parental migration timing, national origin status, race/ethnicity, and language use - to children's socio-emotional and subsequent cognitive development. The research is unique in its multi-disciplinary approach, which combines theoretical perspectives of immigrant adaptation and child development. Thus, the project is an exploratory endeavor to adapt the assimilation frameworks employed to assess generational differences in social and economic well-being among adolescents and adults with the ecological developmental framework developed to understand the multiple contextual influences on children's school readiness and successful transitions to formal schooling.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date6/1/095/31/12

Funding

  • National Institutes of Health: $221,575.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $183,235.00

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migration
immigrant
school
community
school readiness
assimilation
longitudinal study
parents
ethnicity
interaction
well-being
childhood
adolescent
economics
emotional development
child well-being
academic success
cognitive development
language
applicant