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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 • 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 • Extent and nature of network disruption? • Consequences of network disruption? • Variation by country of origin?
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 • Personal interview at school in participant’s native language. • Second interview 1 year later.
Network & Support Measures • Social convoy map • Social 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 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 • Haitians reported less support overall & even less from friends. • Argentineans were highest in friend support. • Time 2 effects were comparable.
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 • 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. • Participants with more convoy members in their country of origin were more likely to say they wanted to go back.
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.