Attachment, acculturative stress, social supports, separation and marital distress in Mexican and Central American adult immigrants separated from primary caregivers as children

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International Journal of Mental Health and Psychiatry

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Latinas/os are reported to be the fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States, with a large percentage being newly arrived immigrants. Previous research has found that many migrate in phases, with the father leaving the family behind or both parents migrating and leaving children in the care of family members. Separations from parental figures have been found to lead to psychosocial, psychological, and educational problems, acculturative stress, lack of social support, attachment problems, poverty, discrimination, unemployment, and marital distress. The purpose of this study was to inquire if immigrant variables (attachment, acculturative stress, and social supports) in Mexican and Central American immigrants who were separated from their primary caregivers as children predict marital distress. A total of 92 participants completed either the online questionnaire via Survey Monkey or paper surveys in person. A quantitative methodology, correlational multiple regression model was used in order to investigate the research questions and hypotheses. The theoretical framework that guided this study was John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory. The results from the current study showed a statistically significant finding that the attachment style and acculturative stress in Mexican and Central American immigrants predicted marital distress. Findings from this study can promote a deeper understanding to marriage counselors regarding attachment, social support, acculturative stress, and separation factors that can affect immigrant couples. It may also have implications for immigration policy and promote the establishment of reunification programs in communities where immigrant populations reside.