RETURN MIGRATION: THE EXPERIENCE OF BRAZILIAN FAMILIES
DeBiaggi, S.D.D., Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil
The present study explores gender role issues and further readjustment factors in the return migration of Brazilian families to their homeland. Return migration is defined as the movement of emigrants back to their homelands to resettle (Gmelch, 1980). Ten Brazilian couples (10 wives and 9 husbands) who had at least one child, that lived an average of eight years and a half in the United States and had been back to Brazil an average of four years, were interviewed. Previous studies (DeBiaggi 1992, 1999, 2002) revealed that changing gender roles within the family structure constitute a major theme of Brazilian immigrant families adjustment to the North American sociocultural environment, a less patriarchal society compared to Brazil. Based on a questionnaire developed by the researcher, the couples were interviewed separately about their decision to move back to Brazil, their new and previous organization of family life, division of labor and extended family. According to a qualitative methodology reflecting the grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) technique the major themes involving readjustment to the homeland are presented. The study indicates that return to the homeland constitutes an extremely stressful experience to all family members. Women indicate the wish to return to the United States where although many times the family social status was lower and the couples worked long hours, she felt higher self esteem and more joy in life. Important implications of this phenomenon to clinical and community psychology are suggested.