Psychological well-being of Ghanaian children in transnational families

  • 2016•01•04

    Valentina Mazzucato and Victor Cebotari

    This study is one of the first large-scale analyses on child psychological well-being in the context of parental migration when children remain in an African country. As such, it contributes to the literature by investigating some of the insights gained from in-depth transnational family studies, and it also provides evidence from Africa where normative contexts around family life differ from Latin America, Southeast Asia, and East Asia where most studies have been conducted to date. A survey was conducted in 2010/2011 with 2,760 secondary school children and youths in high out-migration areas of Ghana. Using multiple regression analysis, we find that being in a transnational family is associated with lower levels of psychological well-being, yet only in families where parents are divorced or separated. Furthermore, when parents are in a relationship, specific characteristics of transnational family arrangements are associated with lower levels of child psychological well-being, while others are not. In particular, whether a parent migrates internally or internationally, who the caregiver is, and having a good relationship with the migrant parent are not associated with poorer well-being outcomes. Instead, if a father migrates, if the child changes caregivers more than once, and if the child has a bad relationship with his or her migrant father are associated with lower levels of well-being. This study adds nuance to a field of research that has emphasised negative outcomes and helps identify policy areas to improve the well-being of children in transnational families.

    In Population, Space and Place