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Despite heightened levels of parenting stress and psychological distress experienced by many immigrant-origin families in the United States, little is known about the resiliency of Latinx families, particularly in today’s political climate. This research presents the results of a pilot study examining the effects of legal stressors on parent-child relationships and parent well-being in Latinx immigrant families. Taken from the Latinx Immigrant Family Stories and Strengths project, this mixed-methods study was informed by the integrative risk and resilience model for understanding the adaptation of immigrant-origin children and youth (Suarez-Orozco, Motti- Stefanidi, Marks, & Katsiaficas, 2018). The pilot included a sample of 30 adult parent participants with various legal statuses and migration experiences. Qualitatively, participants shared their experiences of legal vulnerability, fears or concerns of deportation, and coping mechanisms. Quantitatively, scores for parental stress, psychological distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and resilience were collected. Following a, sequential explanatory design (Creswell et al., 2003), quantitative data were analyzed for relationships among study variables. A case-oriented research comparative strategy (Eckstein, 1975; Mahoney & Goertz, 2004; George & Bennett, 2005; Gerring, 2006) was then used to qualitatively examine the migration and resiliency experiences of the two cases with lowest and highest levels of resilience according to the Brief Resilience Scale (BRS; Smith et al., 2008) scores. Results suggest that, on average, parents experienced normal to high rates of parenting-related stress, low levels of psychological distress, moderate to severe symptoms of PTSD, and low to average levels of resiliency. Parents identifying as undocumented experienced higher rates of parental stress (r = 0.49, p<.05) and psychological distress (r = 0.41, p<.05) compared to their liminally

legal and documented peers. Although the trauma experienced by many immigrant-origin parents in the study was markedly high, resilience was fostered and expressed, and was exemplified through our high-resilience case analysis. Participants’ stories expressed throughout this study spoke volumes about the complex and often times traumatic lived experiences that many foreign- born parents face. Implications for comprehensive, detailed, and longitudinal future research is discussed.

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Well-being, Parent, Child, Family, Latino, Latinx, Legal status, Immigration


Counseling Psychology

Is Part Of

VCU Graduate Research Posters

Legal Status Effects on Parent-Child Relationships and Parent Well-Being