Exploring migrant mothers' experiences of alienation in association with parenting: A scoping review

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Alienation describes an individual's sense of separation between themselves and various objects, such as other people, their community or society. Alienation is mediated by a wide range of psychological and social factors, and most people likely experience it in some form across their lifespan. Previous research suggests that migrants may be at an increased risk of experiencing alienation due to the challenges associated with adapting to a new environment. When migrants become parents in their adopted culture, this has the potential to exacerbate experiences of alienation because parenting introduces further life changes. This scoping review identifies and describes qualitative research studies that explored migrant mothers' feelings/experiences of alienation associated with parenting. It also identifies different conceptualizations of alienation reported in these studies. All methods for the literature search strategy, study screening and selection and data extraction were determined a priori. Eight studies were included from 1250 publications identified by the literature search. Alienation was a subtheme of each of the included studies, rather than a primary focus. Three conceptualizations of alienation were reported by migrant mothers across these studies, including isolation, normlessness and powerlessness. The reported findings suggest that these migrant mothers from diverse backgrounds did experience alienation, and their experiences of alienation were associated with parenting challenges. Given none of the studies comprehensively examined alienation, more work that explicitly explores associations between alienation and parenting is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalChild & Family Social Work
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 2022

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