Migration is an increasing global phenomenon impacting individuals and families from most regions of the world. Although migration figures prominently in the family life course of many throughout the world, there is limited understanding of how these dynamics influence the lives of children and adolescents beyond the impact on household economies overall. New information gathered on the role of familial migration and children's development can help inform programs and policies directed at children in areas with a high prevalence of labor migration. Drawing on theoretical frameworks of migration, child development and the early life course, this program project addresses multiple mechanisms through which migration of family members may alter children's development, aspirations, education and subsequent life course transitions. The unique contributions of the proposed projects include (1) a comparative focus across three contexts of child socialization and development to determine the extent to which migration is similarly associated with outcomes in the early life course, (2) a comprehensive view of migration within the family life course that incorporates the timing, duration and scope of moves and the relationships of migrants with children left behind, and (3) an interdisciplinary coordination of research teams that include expertise in migration, child development, education, life course transitions and health in each setting. The goal is to join investigators with expertise on distinct developmental periods, transitions in childhood and adolescence and migration along with distinct regional expertise in order to understand how family migration experiences may be similarly associated with outcomes for children and adolescents and the distinctive features of these environments that may lead to differential pathways. The program project takes advantage of these strengths to collect data using comparable methods across settings and focusing on specific developmental stages. The three research projects contained under the umbrella of the program project are able to take advantage of shared data collection and instrument development infrastructure as well as coordination and mentoring activities that fall under the purview of two core units. This approach produces efficiencies that give the research a much broader reach than would otherwise be possible and facilitates collaboration across research projects. Thus, each project is able to consider the multiple ecologies impacting children's development, education, expectations and transitions as well as the possible changes in these ecologies introduced by family migration. The organizational structure of the program project takes advantage of the existing collaborations already well-established among the investigators and leverages existing research infrastructure. The two cores in the program are designed to create a synergistic environment that allows each project to share the creative strengths of the entire research team.

Public Health Relevance

Drawing on frameworks of migration, child development and the early life course, this program project addresses multiple mechanisms through which the migration of family members is associated with children's development, aspirations, education and family formation transitions. The results of the research will help inform policies and programs for children in settings with a high prevalence of labor migration to improve child health, access to education and transitions to adulthood.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
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King, Rosalind B
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Pennsylvania State University
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University Park
United States
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An, Danming; Eggum-Wilkens, Natalie D; Chae, Sophia et al. (2018) Adults' Conceptualisations of Children's Social Competence in Nepal and Malawi. Psychol Dev Soc J 30:81-104
Glick, Jennifer E; Yabiku, Scott T (2016) Migrant children and migrants' children: Nativity differences in school enrollment in Mexico and the United States. Demogr Res 35:201-228