Stress, maternal distress, and children's adjustment following immigration: the buffering role of social support

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1997 Jun;65(3):494-503. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.65.3.494.


This study examined, in the context of a stress-buffering model, the relationship of certain family-level variables to children's adjustment after immigration. Immigrant Chinese mothers from Hong Kong completed questionnaires regarding postmigration stress, personal distress, perceived social support, and their child's adjustment. Another adult also provided child behavior ratings. Analyses revealed that, for boys, family stress and maternal distress were significant predictors of child problems and that maternal support buffered the association between family stress and child problems. Contrary to expectation, the relationship between maternal distress and boys' problems was stronger at higher levels of maternal support. For families of girls, although there were significant relationships between the predictors and child behavior, no stress buffering was evident. Cultural explanations are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*