Social Networks of Children, Adolescents, and College Students

By Suzanne Salzinger; John Antrobus et al. | Go to book overview
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Obviously, much more extensive and systematic work is needed for a full picture of the networks of Haitian children in America. Such work might examine the extent of overlap in the networks of adult caregivers and children in relation to various aspects of child development. Studies of changing configurations in children's networks from infancy through early childhood and adolescence would be most useful. The presence of social class diversity within the Haitian-American community would permit internal comparisons among children from families with different kinds of residential, marital, reproductive, and caregiving arrangements. These and other approaches to the study of children's networks can contribute importantly to our understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in the networks of children in cultures most familiar to us from our own experience as children and adults, and whose assumptions about familial and household organization we may tend to take for granted as reflecting universal norms.


The fieldwork and patient data collection reported in this chapter were supported by U.S. Public Health Service Grant No. 5R01 MH36712, "Community Support Systems of Haitian Immigrants," to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School ( Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health Science), Vivian E. Garrison and Linda Gutwirth-Winston, Co-Principal Investigators, April 1, 1982-June 30, 1984. I wish to acknowledge the assistance of Vivian E. Garrison and of Jocelyn Denis, Research Assistant, in data collection and analysis. The contents of this chapter are, however, solely the responsibility of the author.

Several colleagues and friends contributed, some over and over, to the process of writing this chapter. I am grateful first of all to John Antrobus, Muriel Hammer, and Suzanne Salzinger for inviting me to contribute to this book and to the symposium that preceded it.

Vivian Garrison encouraged me to draw on information from our joint study of the "Community Support Systems of Haitian Immigrants" and expressed continuing interest in this chapter as it developed.

Michel Laguerre's studies of Haitian families, at home and abroad, helped me to find my focus.

Jocelyn Denis, my assistant in the interviews with clinic patients, gave me an insider's insight into Haitian life in the United States.

Muriel Hammer and Constance Sutton, through their own chapter in this volume, forced me to clarify my thinking and define my questions.

Muriel Hammer and Suzanne Salzinger read my drafts and encouraged me to revise. There might never have been a chapter without Muriel Hammer's generosity, her intellectual companionship, her rigorous rereading


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