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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

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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    Cited by:

    1. Everding, Jakob, 2019. "Heterogeneous spillover effects of children's education on parental mental health," hche Research Papers 2019/18, University of Hamburg, Hamburg Center for Health Economics (hche).
    2. Shu Cai & Albert Park & Winnie Yip, 2022. "Migration and experienced utility of left-behind parents: evidence from rural China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 35(3), pages 1225-1259, July.
    3. Juliane Scheffel & Yiwei Zhang, 2019. "How does internal migration affect the emotional health of elderly parents left-behind?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 953-980, July.
    4. Paulone, Sara & Ivlevs, Artjoms, 2019. "Emigration and alcohol consumption among migrant household members staying behind: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 221(C), pages 40-48.
    5. Wahba, Jackline & Wang, Chuhong, 2019. "Sons or Daughters? The Impact of Children's Migration on the Health and Well-Being of Parents Left Behind," IZA Discussion Papers 12370, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Sarah Bridges & Lefan Liu, 2022. "The impact of child migration on the health and well‐being of parents left behind," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(6), pages 1145-1164, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emigration; Depression; Mental health; Older parents;
    All these keywords.

    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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