Parental detention and psychosocial wellbeing of migrant children in Japan

Glob Health Med. 2021 Jun 30;3(3):171-174. doi: 10.35772/ghm.2020.01101.


Immigration policies in Japan and elsewhere have been toughened in recent years. To investigate the potential effects of parental detention on migrant children, psychosocial wellbeing of children from migrant families with and without parental detention was compared. In this cross-sectional study, adult asylum seekers and migrant workers with children staying in Japan were invited through non-governmental organizations to answer a self-administered anonymous questionnaire in June and July 2020. Children's psychosocial wellbeing was assessed based on the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire. In the 49 participating families, including 28 where either parent had ever been detained in Japan, there were 85 children aged 4-17 years who were subject to the analyses. Psychosocial wellbeing of children in families with parental detention appeared to be worse than that of their counterparts, especially on the dimension of emotional problems. More attention should be paid to the wellbeing of migrant children in Japans immigration policy.

Keywords: human migration; imprisonment; mental health; vulnerable populations.