Middle-Eastern immigrant parents’ social networks and help-seeking for child health care

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Abstract

The purpose of this research was to describe (a) Arab-American immigrant parents’ perceptions of their social networks, including social support, and (b) Arab–American immigrant parents’ perceptions of their help-seeking related to child health care Seventy-three immigrant parents who were Egyptian-American (n= 17), Palestinian–American (n= 44) and Yemeni–American (n= 12) completed the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire, four Supplementary Social Support Questions, a Support System Map and a Child Health Interview Guide Family and relatives were perceived as the major source of support and comprised the highest percentage of social network members Compared with published scores of a normative American sample, the immigrant parents’ scores were lower (P < 0 01) on all social network and social support variables There was a moderate negative correlation (r=0 47) between parents’ number of years of residence in the USA and percentage of network members living outside the USA (P < 0 01) and a weak positive correlation (r=0 36) between number of years in the USA and percentage of network members living close to the parent (P < 0 01) Parents’ help-seeking for child health care involved use of a variety of resources, with reliance on some long-distance support from family in the Middle-East This descriptive research provides a basis for further research on patterns of support and help-seeking in immigrant parents

Summary

In summary, networks reflect immigrants’ sense of identity and may be used as a source of information Ethnic composition of the network corresponds with density of the network and the immigrant's level of acculturation and level of education Sources of support for immigrants change over time, and there are limited data on immigrants’ perceptions of social support Help-seeking is related to the composition of the network and involves use of various resources There has been little research reported on immigrant parents’ social networks and help-seeking related to child health care

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