Household Migration, Social Support, and Psychosocial Health: The Perspective from Migrant-Sending Areas

Lu, Yao

An extensive literature demonstrates various negative health consequences of family disruption in Western societies, which is largely due to marital dissolution. In developing settings, family disruption commonly arises in the context of labor out-migration. However, studies on household emigration often focus on the economic benefits from remittances, overlooking emigration as a source of stress and loss of social support. This research examines the psychosocial consequences of internal out-migration using longitudinal survey data collected in Indonesia between 1993 and 2007. Results demonstrate considerable psychosocial costs of out-migration, with adults left behind by migrants more susceptible to stress-related health impairments such as hypertension and to psychological distress such as depressive symptoms. These findings largely hold when specific relations are investigated, including spouses left behind and parents left behind by adult children. This study also finds some support for the stress-buffering role of social support from extended families and the differential psychosocial processes for men and women.

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September 30, 2015