Cross-Border Ties as Sources of Risk and Resilience for Latino Immigrants in the U.S.

Jacqueline M. Torres, University of California, San Francisco
Carmela Alcántara, Columbia University
Edna A. Viruell-Fuentes, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Few studies have examined the health effects of cross-border ties that immigrants maintain with their family members in communities of origin. We draw on theories of transnationalism and social ties and health to examine whether or not cross-border ties moderate the effect of migration-related stressors on psychological distress among Latino migrants. Using the National Latino and Asian American Study we find that remittance sending – a marker of cross-border social and economic ties – significantly buffers the association between migration-related discrimination and psychological distress for Puerto Rican migrants, and also significantly buffers the association between legal status stressors and distress for Cuban immigrants. There is a significant association between remittance sending and lower psychological distress for the Mexican migrant sample, but no significant interaction between cross-border ties and migration-related stressors for this group. In ancillary analyses, we test mediators of the main effect relationship between cross-border ties and psychological distress.

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Presented in Session 14: Migration and Mental Health