Challenges related to migration and child attachment: a pilot study with south Asian immigrant mother-child dyads

Lecompte, V.; Miconi, D.; Rousseau, C. (2018)

Attachment&human development

20(2) | 208-222

This pilot study examined psychological, social and cultural risk factors for child insecure attachment in a sample of South Asian immigrant families experiencing high migration stress in Montreal, Canada. Thirty-three participants were recruited through a local Health and Social Service organization. Maternal anxiety and depression, social support, and national and religious sense of belonging were assessed. Child attachment behaviors were coded from a 15 min free play period. Results indicated that maternal depressive symptoms were related to lower child attachment security scores. Lower support from friends was related to greater child ambivalent attachment behaviors. A higher sense of belonging to the country of origin was related to greater child disorganized attachment behaviors. These findings suggest that migration stresses, which include maternal depression, lack of social support and the sense of belonging, are associated with child attachment, and these variables should be considered in the design of appropriate interventions.