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Social Networks of Newly Immigrant Children and Adolescents:. Network Disruption and Change over Time Levitt, M. J., Levitt, J. L., Hodgetts, J., Lane, J. D., Perez, E. I. & Pierre, F. This research was funded by the Spencer Foundation. Address correspondence to: levittmj@fiu.edu.

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social networks of newly immigrant children and adolescents

Social Networks of Newly Immigrant Children and Adolescents:

Network Disruption and Change over Time

Levitt, M. J., Levitt, J. L., Hodgetts, J., Lane, J. D.,

Perez, E. I. & Pierre, F.

This research was funded by the Spencer Foundation.

Address correspondence to: levittmj@fiu.edu

immigration the social convoy
Immigration & the Social Convoy
  • Social networks (convoys) change over major life transitions.
  • Immigration is a profound transition requiring extensive adaptation.
  • Little is known about the early stages of adaptation in children and adolescents.
the present study
The Present Study
  • Followed newly immigrant children over their first two years in the U. S.
  • Focused on social network disruption, social support, and personal adjustment.
research questions
Research Questions
  • Extent and nature of network disruption?
  • Consequences of network disruption?
  • Variation by country of origin?
sample
Sample
  • N= 512 (51% male) public school students in Miami-Dade County, FL.
  • Countries of origin: Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, & the West Indies.
  • Grade levels: 3-4, 6-7, & 9 (age 7-18).
  • In U. S. for < 1 year at the beginning of the project.
procedure
Procedure
  • Personal interview at school in participant’s native language.
  • Second interview 1 year later.
network support measures
Network & Support Measures
  • Social convoy map
  • Social support functions
support functions
Support Functions
  • Are there people you talk to about things that are really important to you?
  • …who make you feel better when something bothers you or you are not sure about something?
  • …who would take care of you if you were sick?
  • …who like to be with you and do fun things with you?
  • …who help you with homework or other work you do for school?
  • …who make you feel special or good about yourself?
additional measures
Additional Measures
  • Proportion of network members remaining in country of origin
  • Frequency of contact with each network member
  • Self-concept
  • Psychological distress
network disruption convoy members in country of origin
Network Disruption:Convoy Members in Country of Origin
  • 43% of the child’s convoy members were in the country of origin at Time 1.
  • 35% of convoy members were in the country of origin at Time 2: A significant change.
specific relations in country of origin
Specific Relations in Country of Origin
  • Over half of extended family & most friends were in the country of origin at Time 1.
  • Both the proportion of friends in the country of origin & the total number of friends dropped at Time 2.
convoy members in country of origin by group
Convoy Members in Country of Origin by Group
  • Argentinean & West Indian children had larger convoys overall.
  • Argentineans had proportionally more in country of origin.
  • Haitians had smaller convoys & proportionally fewer in country of origin.
support by relation
Support by Relation
  • Support was provided mostly by close family, followed by extended family & friends.
  • Participants reported more support from close family & friends, less from extended family at Time 2.
support by relation by group
Support by Relation by Group
  • Haitians reported less support overall & even less from friends.
  • Argentineans were highest in friend support.
  • Time 2 effects were comparable.
network disruption contact support
Network Disruption, Contact & Support
  • % of network members in the country of origin correlated with less
  • contact with network members, but not less support.
  • Participants with greater close family network disruption perceived
  • more support from close family members.
adjustment analyses
Adjustment Analyses
  • Network disruption was related weakly to distress at Time 2.
  • Support was related to more positive self-concept across time and
  • to less distress at Time 1.
  • Effects were mostly comparable across country-of-origin groups.
network disruption and desire to go back or stay in the u s
Network Disruption and Desire to Go Back or Stay in the U. S.
  • Participants with more convoy members in their country of origin were more likely to say they wanted to go back.
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Child and adolescent networks are disrupted significantly by migration.
  • Support from close family and new friends may compensate for a loss of extended family support.
  • Effects of network disruption may emerge over time.
  • How the dynamics of social network change affect further adaptation remains to be seen.
  • Characteristics of new friendship networks may be especially salient.