School Effects of Attachment Break in Context of Economic Migration of Parents

  • Daniela Oprea University of Bucharest
Keywords: migration, parental support, attachment


Romania is going through a period of economic transition, subject to the pressures of globalization that affect the evolution of the family, at the micro social level, structurally, from the behaviour and relational point of view. The continuous process of changes in the labour market, the inefficiency of the association between vocational training and job satisfaction, the financial difficulties felt by most families but also the challenge of modernity have emphasized the phenomenon of migration in the last decade. The departure of parents who have to work abroad has become a worrying phenomenon with a higher incidence in the eastern half of the country. It has got complex effects on the evolution of the family, especially on the children left at home with one of their parents or their tutors. Nowadays, the studies show more and more situations of neglect in which children become victims and suffer emotionally and physically. They also suffer various abuses, they are exploited through work or sex. In schools, there is a new profile of special educational requirements (not deficiencies), the profile of children left at home without parental support. It is worrying the migration phenomenon seen as a value model by the young generation and its negative effects at school level: decrease of motivation for learning or school abandonment. The present study discusses a review of the current scientific literature objectively, which examines the impact of breaking attachment relationships between children and parents on socio-emotional development and school outcomes. The Romanian society knows an important socio-economic phenomenon, which has grown since 1990: migration. In 2017, a study carried out at the request of the Romanian Government recorded more than 85,000 children left home alone with one of the parents or without parental supervision. We aim to analyse what effects at school and socio-emotional level have the loss of attachment ties having as moderators the gender of the migrant parent, the duration of the separation, the age at which the separation occurs. When these relationships are interrupted, the child’s emotional development is affected, his emotional balance having repercussions in his social life. The purpose of this study is to identify, monitor the dimensions of the phenomenon in intensely affected areas (Braila and Galati counties), the psycho-pedagogical aspects of children with migrant parents exposed to situations of vulnerability, marginalization and to propose a program of educational strategies in order to optimize school motivation. The main objective of the research is to identify, evaluate and involve them into adaptive actions that have as their objective the rebalancing of the socio-affective relations

Author Biography

Daniela Oprea, University of Bucharest

PhD student, Department of Education Science, University of Bucharest



Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1967). Infancy in Uganda: Infant care and the growth of love. The Johns Hopkins Press

Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1978). Patters of Attachment: A psychological study of the closer situation. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Alcaraz, C., Chiquiar, D., & Salcedo, A. (2012). Remittances, schooling, and child labor in Mexico. Journal of Development Economics, 97(1), 156-165.

Allen, J. P. (2008). The attachment system in adolescence. In J. Shaver, P. R. Cassidy (Eds.), The Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and clinical applications (pp. 419–435). Guilford press.

Amuedo-Dorantes, C., & Pozo, S. (2010). Accounting for remittance and migration effects on children’s schooling. World development, 38(12), 1747-1759.

Anghel, R., Botezat, A., Coşciug, A., Manafi, I., & Roman, M. (2016). International migration, return migration, and their effects: a comprehensive review on the Romanian case.

Antman, F. (2010, March 25). How does adult child migration affect the health of elderly parents left behind? Evidence from Mexico.

Antman, F. M. (2011). International migration and gender discrimination among children left behind. American Economic Review, 101(3), 645-49.

Antman, F. M. (2013). The impact of migration on family left behind. In International handbook on the economics of migration. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Beegle, K., De Weerdt, J., & Dercon, S. (2006). Orphanhood and the long-run impact on children. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 88(5), 1266-1272.

Bollard, A., McKenzie, D., Morten, M., & Rapoport, H. (2011). Remittances and the brain drain revisited: The microdata show that more educated migrants remit more. The World Bank Economic Review, 25(1), 132-156.

Bowby, J. (1970). Attachment and loss: Volume I. Atachbearing. Basic books, Inc.

Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss: Volume II. Separation: Anxiety and Anger. Basic books, Inc.

Bretherton, I. (1992). The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental psychology, 28(5), 759.

Bretherton, I., Lambert, J. D., & Golby, B. (2005). Involved fathers of preschool children as seen by themselves and their wives: Accounts of attachment, socialization, and companionship. Attachment & Human Development, 7(3), 229-251.

Brown, F. G. (1993). Principios de la medición en Psicología y Educación. Editorial El Manual Moderno, SA.

Carletto, C., Covarrubias, K., & Maluccio, J. A. (2011). Migration and child growth in rural Guatemala. Food Policy, 36(1), 16-27.

Chambers, J. A., Power, K. G., Loucks, N., & Swanson, V. (2000). The quality of perceived parenting and its association with peer relationships and psychological distress in a group of incarcerated young offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 44(3), 350-368.

Chen, X., & Jiang, X. (2019). Are grandparents better caretakers? Parental migration, caretaking arrangements, children’s self-control, and delinquency in rural China. Crime & Delinquency, 65(8), 1123-1148.

Dahl, G. B., & Lochner, L. (2012). The impact of family income on child achievement: Evidence from the earned income tax credit. American Economic Review, 102(5), 1927-56.

Edwards, A. C., & Ureta, M. (2003). International migration, remittances, and schooling: evidence from El Salvador. Journal of development economics, 72(2), 429-461.

Fearon, R. P., Groh, A. M., Bakermans‐Kranenburg, M. J., van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Roisman, G. I. (2016). Attachment and developmental psychopathology. Developmental psychopathology, 1-60.

Feeney, J. A. (2008). Adult romantic attachment: Developments in the study of couple relationships. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 456–481). The Guilford Press.

Feeney, J. A., & Ryan, S. M. (1994). Attachment style and affect regulation: Relationships with health behavior and family experiences of illness in a student sample. Health psychology, 13(4), 334.

Fraley, R. C., & Davis, K. E. (1997). Attachment formation and transfer in young adults’close friends and romantic relations. Personal Relationships, 4(2), 131 to 144.

Giannelli, G. C., & Mangiavacchi, L. (2010). Children's schooling and parental migration: Empirical evidence on the ‘left‐behind’generation in Albania. Labour, 24, 76-92.

Graham, E., & Jordan, L. P. (2011). Migrant parents and the psychological well‐being of left‐behind children in Southeast Asia. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73(4), 763-787.

Hanson, G. H., & Woodruff, C. (2003). Emigration and educational attainment in Mexico. University of California at San Diego.

Hazan, C., & Zifman, D. (1999). Hair bonds as attachments: Evaluation the evidence. In J. Casidy, P. R. Shaver (Eds.). The Handbook Of Attachment: Theory, Research, and clinical applications (pp. 336–354). Guilford press.

Hu, Y. Q., Gan, Y. Q. (2008). Development and psychometric validity of resilience scale for Chinese adolescents. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 40, 902–912.

Kuépié, M. (2018). Is international migration always good for left behind households members? Evidence from children education in Cameroon. International Migration, 56(6), 120-135.

Lahaie, C., Hayes, J. A., Piper, T. M., & Heymann, J. (2009). Work and family divided across borders: The impact of parental migration on Mexican children in transnational families. Community, Work & Family, 12(3), 299-312.

Lam, T., & Yeoh, B. S. (2019). Parental migration and disruptions in everyday life: reactions of left-behind children in Southeast Asia. Journal of ethnic and migration studies, 45(16), 3085-3104.

Macours, K., & Vakis, R. (2010). Seasonal migration and early childhood development. World development, 38(6), 857-869.

Main, M., Kaplan, N., & Cassidy, J. (1985). Security in infancy, childhood, and adulthood: A move to the level of representation. Monographs of the society for research in child development, 66-104.

Mayselessx, O. (2004). Home Leaving to Military Service: Attachment Concerns, Transfer of Attachment Functions from Parents to Peers, and Adjustment. Journal of Adolescent Research, 19(5), 533-558.

Meyerhoefer, C. D., & Chen, C. J. (2011). The effect of parental labor migration on children’s educational progress in rural China. Review of Economics of the Household, 9(3), 379-396.

Mu, R., & Van de Walle, D. (2011). Left behind to farm? Women's labor re-allocation in rural China. Labour economics, 18, S83-S97.

Ratelle, C. F., Vallerand, R. J., Chantal, Y., & Provencher, P. (2004). Cognitive adaptation and mental health: A motivational analysis. European Journal of Social Psychology, 34(4), 459-476.

Reyes, B. I. (1997). Dynamics of immigration: Return migration to Western Mexico. Public Policy Instit. of CA.

Schachner, D. A., Shaver, P.R., & Gillath, O. (2008). Attachment style and long-term singlehood. Personal Relationships, 15(4), 479-491.

Toth, G., Toth, A., Voicu, O., & Ştefănescu, M. (2007). Efectele migraţiei: copiii răma şi acasă. Soros România Foundation.

Trinke, S. J., & Bartholomew, K. (1997). Hierarchs of attachment relations in young Adulthood. A. Shock. Pers Relate, 14, 603–625.

Vanore, M., Mazzucato, V., & Siegel, M. (2015). ‘Left behind’but not left alone: parental migration & the psychosocial health of children in Moldova. Social Science & Medicine, 132, 252-260.

Wang, W., Arora, R., Livescu, K., & Bilmes, J. (2015, June). On deep multi-view representation learning. In International conference on machine learning (pp. 1083-1092). PMLR.

Yang, D. (2008). International migration, remittances and household investment: Evidence from Philippine migrants’ exchange rate shocks. The Economic Journal, 118(528), 591-630.

Zhang, N., Bécares, L., & Chandola, T. (2015). Does the timing of parental migration matter for child growth? A life course study on left-behind children in rural China. BMC public health, 15(1), 1-12.

Zhao, F., & Yu, G. (2016). Parental migration and rural left-behind children’s mental health in China: A meta-analysis based on mental health test. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(12), 3462-3472.

Zhou, Y., von Lengerke, T., Walter, U., & Dreier, M. (2018). Migration background and childhood overweight in the Hannover Region in 2010–2014: A population-based secondary data analysis of school entry examinations. European journal of pediatrics, 177(5), 753-763.

Zhou, Z. K., Sun, X. J., Liu, Y., & Zhou, D. M. (2005). Psychological Development and Education Problems of Children Left in Rural Areas. Journal of Beijing Normal University (Social Science Edition), 1(008).

How to Cite
Oprea, D. (2021). School Effects of Attachment Break in Context of Economic Migration of Parents. LUMEN Proceedings, 16, 350-359.