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


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Thapa, DK, Visentin, D ORCID: 0000-0001-9961-4384, Kornhaber, R ORCID: 0000-0001-6556-6775 and Cleary, M ORCID: 0000-0002-1453-4850 2018 , 'Migration of adult children and mental health of older parents 'left behind': An integrative review' , Public Library of Science, vol. 13, no. 10 , pp. 1-30 , doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205665.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Thapa, DK and Visentin, D and Kornhaber, R and Cleary, M
Keywords: Migration; mental health; older parents; ‘left behind’
Journal or Publication Title: Public Library of Science
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI / ID Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205665
Copyright Information:

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

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