Despite increasing recognition of the critical importance of legal status for understanding the well-being of immigrants and their families, there has been scant research on this topic. Using Wave 1 of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (2000–2002) and the 2000 decennial census, the authors investigated how parenting strain among Mexican-origin mothers varies by legal status and neighborhood context. They found significant differences in parenting strain by nativity and legal status, with undocumented mothers reporting the lowest level. Results from multilevel models with cross-level interactions reveal that the influence of neighborhood immigrant concentration differs by legal status. Percent foreign born in the neighborhood is associated with reduced parenting strain for documented Mexican-origin mothers, whereas it is associated with heightened parenting strain for undocumented Mexican-origin mothers. The findings provide empirical support for the need to recognize legal status distinctions in studies of the well-being of immigrants and their families.
- family stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)