ADAPTIVE AND MALADAPTIVE RESPONSES TO SOCIAL CHANGE: A STUDY OF MIGRANTS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN SAN LUIS POTOSI, MEXICO
MORRIS, RICHARD WARREN
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation seeks to demonstrate that for some Mexican migrants and members of their families, migration is stress-inducing. Certain types of migration or mobility carried out under certain circumstances may make the individual's and family's psychosocial adaptation to everyday life problematic. It is argued and defended with ethnographic and empirical data that migration may be distinguished as a causal or precipitant factor in social deviance. The results of survey research among 218 Mexican psychiatric patients, many of whom had a social history of migration, are discussed. The incidence of patients with a history of migration in this group is reported and interpreted. The maladaptive approaches to migration which these patients seem to have taken are described. Those patients with migration in their backgrounds are distinguished from non-migrant patients and it is suggested that, because migrants had a notably different set of social factors which contributed to their problems and because their emotional problems ran a very different course, migration may elicit a syndromic response of maladaptation in some migrants and members of their families. Finally, through the presentation and analysis of case material on fourteen families currently involved in migration, an effort is made to distinquish adaptive from maladaptive migration. The way in which migration in certain directions and under particular circumstances entails risks that may affect individual well-being and family functioning is described. Migration is depicted as a multifaceted social process which permeates all aspects of personal and social life. The short term effects of migration as they directly influence those who migrate, such as culture contact, isolation, separation from kinsmen are considered and the way in which the well-adapted and poorly-adapted families sought to cope with these consequences of migration is discussed. Also, the indirect effects of migration are described and the case study material is used to explain how migration established certain pathological family themes in these maladapted groups which contributed to the onset of psychiatric illnesses in their members.