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The impact of adult child emigration on the mental health of older parents

Author

Listed:
  • Irene Mosca

    () (Trinity College Dublin)

  • Alan Barrett

    (Trinity College Dublin
    Economic and Social Research Institute
    Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

Abstract

Abstract We explore whether older parents of adult children who emigrate experience, in the short term, increases in depressive symptoms and loneliness feelings compared to parents whose children do not migrate. We use data from the first two waves of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, which is a nationally representative sample of 8500 people aged 50 + living in Ireland. To deal with the endogeneity of migration, we apply fixed-effects estimation models and control for a broad range of life events occurring between the two waves. These include the emigration of a child but also events such as bereavement, onset of disease, retirement and unemployment. We find that depressive symptoms and loneliness feelings increase among the parents of migrant children but that the effect is only present for mothers. As the economic burden of mental health problems is high, our findings have potentially significant impacts for migrant-sending regions and countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Irene Mosca & Alan Barrett, 2016. "The impact of adult child emigration on the mental health of older parents," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 687-719, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:29:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s00148-015-0582-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-015-0582-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Scheffel, Juliane & Zhang, Yiwei, 2016. "How Does Internal Migration Affect the Emotional Health of Elderly Parents Left-Behind?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145663, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emigration; Depression; Mental health; Older parents;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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