Adults' recollection of their language deprivation as immigrant children

Am J Psychiatry. 1982 May;139(5):607-10. doi: 10.1176/ajp.139.5.607.


For this retrospective study, six adult patients in psychoanalytic psychotherapy participated in 45-min audiotaped individual sessions that focused on their reaction to the language deprivation they experienced following their immigration to the United States during their later childhood years. The content analysis of these sessions showed that all six patients experienced the impact of language deprivation in a strikingly similar way. Four consecutive stages were identified: withdrawal, despondency, adaptation, and integration. On the basis of these preliminary observations, the author makes tentative recommendations aimed at ameliorating the consequences of language deprivation in immigrant children and suggests systematic research on these children.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Reactive Disorders / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Language Development*
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Mental Recall*
  • Psychosocial Deprivation*
  • Social Isolation