Marriage at a distance: Spouse separation and the migrant family

2002 2002

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Abstract (summary)

The temporary residential separation of spouses is common side effect of the migration process. Previous research has shown that spouse separation can be both a physical and mental stress for family members, yet overall, little academic attention has been paid to this issue. No prior study has quantitatively demonstrated the characteristics of the population that experiences migration-related spouse separation. In this dissertation, I use both quantitative and qualitative analyses to address several questions related to this topic. First, I use life table analyses to determine the probability of experiencing spouse separation. Then I use regression analyses to illustrate the differences among couples that migrate together, couples that separate for migration, and non-migrants. Another problem addressed in this dissertation is the direction of causality between migration and fertility. In separate analyses, I use “spouse separation” as both an independent and dependent variable. In this way, I test the effect of having children on migration as well as the effect of migration on having children. Finally, I present some data from qualitative interviews that I conducted with both migrant and non-migrant Mexicans on the topic of marriage, migration, and family. The results of this dissertation study show that the probability of experiencing residential separation is highest during the early years of marriage when intense family formation activity also takes place. Participation in migration may shift the timing of births, but does not significantly contribute to changes in the overall fertility rate of migrants when compared to non-migrants. The presence of young children in the household is associated with higher levels of migration activity and spouse separation. Qualitative evidence shows support for the idea that international migration is an ordinary way of life. Migrant families cope with their bi-national living arrangement and accept it as a normal part of their married lives.

Indexing (details)

Families & family life;
Personal relationships;
Minority & ethnic groups
0628: Families & family life
0628: Personal relationships
0628: Sociology
0938: Demographics
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0631: Sociology
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Family; Marriage; Migrant; Spouse separation
Marriage at a distance: Spouse separation and the migrant family
Gupta, Payal
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 63/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780493577777, 0493577777
Massey, Douglas S.
University of Pennsylvania
University location
United States -- Pennsylvania
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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