No place to belong: Contextualizing concepts of mental health among undocumented immigrant youth in the United States

Author(s): Roberto G. GONZALES ; Carola SUÁREZ-OROZCO ; Maria Cecilia DEDIOS-SANGUINETI


This article examines the consequences of undocumented immigration status for those who grow up in the United States. The aim is to examine the relationship between undocumented immigrant status and mental and emotional health. Our efforts focus on undocumented immigrants who arrive as children and spend most of their formative years in the United States. The experiences of these undocumented members of the 1.5 generation are quite different from those who migrate as adults. We are interested in better understanding the effects confusing and conflicting experiences of inclusion and exclusion have on their mental and emotional health as well as the protective factors that may shape resilience. While previous scholarship has drawn some important implications to experiences of stress among undocumented youth and young adults, to our knowledge, no work has been done to explicitly draw the link to mental and emotional health. The article concludes with some suggestions for future research on the topic.

Keywords: undocumented, immigrant, youth, mental, health

Tags: USA, Undocumented migrants, Children, Adolescents, 1.5 generation, Mental health, Emotional health, Resilience

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