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Attachment to childhood places in adult memory and Brazilian immigrant's sense of well-being in the United States of America

Joao Menezes de Sa, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The goal of this study was to examine the Brazilian immigrant's memories of a childhood place (i.e., place lived between 6 to 15 years of age) and the influence of these memories on immigrant's sense of well-being in the USA, self-esteem, and the longing to return to homeland. The subjects were 100 Brazilian immigrants (50 men and 50 women) who were at least age of eighteen years or older when they immigrated to USA and who have lived and are living in this country for least two years but not more than fifteen years. Results showed no correlations between positive/negative feelings about childhood place and the immigrant's sense of well-being in the USA, nor was the immigrant's current self-esteem explained by memory about attachment to childhood place or current well-being. Participants who had positive/pleasant feelings about childhood place had a higher association with the longing to return to the homeland than those who had a negative memory of childhood place. Men had more positive/pleasant memories of childhood place and a greater desire to return to homeland than women. Immigrants' narrative describing experience with childhood place supported the hypothesis that men and women experience place differently, i.e., their feelings about childhood place depend on their opportunity for self-actualization and type of experiences they had in that place. The main topics remembered and described about childhood place focused on the "locus" of childhood place; childhood place was remembered as the arena for interpersonal relationships; childhood place was seen as the container for cultural values and the source for self-identity development; and memories of childhood place were described as a part of the self (i.e., ontological landscape) which had a great influence on immigrant's desire to return to homeland.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Developmental psychology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

de Sa, Joao Menezes, "Attachment to childhood places in adult memory and Brazilian immigrant's sense of well-being in the United States of America" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9823727.