Department of Family Therapy Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT)

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy

Advisor

Anne H. Rambo

Committee Member

Kara Erolin

Abstract

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Haitian immigrant population in the United States is the fourth largest immigrant group from the Caribbean after immigrants from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Cortes (2008) and the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) reported that 17% of children born from two-parent families in some Caribbean countries had a migrating parent at some time in their childhood (Cortes, 2008). Using a phenomenological study enlightened how Haitian adult children have coped with transnational separation, which is a term used to describe families who live in different countries while trying to maintain a collective welfare and unity across borders (Falicov, 2007). The goal of this phenomenological qualitative study was to examine the experiences of adult children who lived in Haiti and were raised by relatives while their parents lived in the United States. The saturation of theme was a maximum of six adult children (not gender specific). The primary data collection method was in-depth interviews with the adult children inviting them to recount their experiences growing up in Haiti while their parents lived in the United States. I attempted to explore the major stressors of financial, emotional, and psychological strains. For example, how did those children maintain a relationship with their parents and cope with family separation? The data was coded and analyzed according to the research questions. These conversations privilege the voices of adult children who have experienced this phenomenon.

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