Psychological welfare of U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident parents in mixed-citizenship status families

Jacqueline A Newman, Tennessee State University

Abstract

Mixed-citizenship status families represent an increasingly common and vulnerable family arrangement in the United States, yet this population is severely understudied. Understanding the experience of parents in these families is critical to protecting children and the family system as a whole; however, there is an absence of literature in this area. The purpose of this dissertation was to begin filling this gap by clarifying psychological challenges and needs of citizen and Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) parents who are members of mixed-status families. This study sought to determine the extent to which variables specific to citizen or LPR parents and their spouses explain variation in psychological challenges and needs. Specifically, this study examined how psychological needs and challenges appeared for citizen and LPR parents navigating legal adjustment of an unauthorized family member’s citizenship status. The first hypothesis examined whether independent variables of personal characteristics (gender, race, and employment status) significantly affected the degree of psychological challenges and needs experienced by LPR or citizen parents, as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory and Beck Anxiety Inventory. This study hypothesized that citizen or LPR parents who identified as female, Caucasian, and of lower employment status, would report greater psychological challenges and needs. The second hypothesis explored whether independent variables of support (spousal employment and financial contribution) significantly affected the degree of psychological challenges and needs of LPR or citizen parents, as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory and Beck Anxiety Inventory. This study hypothesized that citizen or LPR parents with spouses who report a lower degree of employment and financial contribution would also report greater psychological challenges and needs. An archival convenience sample (n=219) of psychological evaluations completed for citizen and LPR parents petitioning for an extreme hardship waiver for an undocumented family member was used. A MANOVA revealed higher reported psychological distress by participants who identified as women, categorized their race as “other,” and had spouses who were unemployed and provided no financial support. These findings lend to our understanding of variables of risk for psychological distress in citizen and LPR parents in the process of adjusting family member citizenship status.^

Subject Area

Social psychology|Individual & family studies|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Jacqueline A Newman, "Psychological welfare of U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident parents in mixed-citizenship status families" (2016). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3723688.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3723688

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