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Migration of adult children and mental health of older parents 'left behind': An integrative review


Thapa, DK and Visentin, D and Kornhaber, R and Cleary, M, Migration of adult children and mental health of older parents 'left behind': An integrative review, PL o S One, 13, (10) Article e0205665. ISSN 1932-6203 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205665


Background: Although a number of studies have examined the effect of the out-migration of children on the mental health of ‘left behind’ elderly parents, research on the consequences of children’s migration on the mental health and well-being of elderly parents left behind is inconclusive and a systematic review is warranted.

Objectives: To identify the association between the left behind or empty nest status and the mental health of older parents, and to identify common risk factors for poor mental health among those left behind.

Methods: Online databases CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus and ProQuest were searched for research (2000-September 2017) that focused on the relationship between the migration of adult children and the mental health of the older parents (≥ 50 years) left behind. The JBI Checklist for Analytical Cross Sectional Studies was used to assess the methodological quality of the articles.

Results: 25 articles met the inclusion criteria. The studies identified that left behind older parents had higher levels of mental health problems compared to non-left behind. Left behind parents had higher depressive symptoms, higher levels of loneliness, lower life satisfaction, lower cognitive ability and poorer psychological health. A number of risk factors were identified for mental health disorders among the left behind parents, which included living arrangements, gender, education, income, physical health status, physical activity, family and social support, age, rural residence and frequency of children’s visit.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:migration, mental health, older parents, ‘left behind’
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Thapa, DK (Mr Deependra Thapa)
UTAS Author:Visentin, D (Dr Denis Visentin)
UTAS Author:Kornhaber, R (Dr Rachel Kornhaber)
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:128918
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2018-10-24
Last Modified:2019-09-09
Downloads:82 View Download Statistics

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