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21-05-2019 | Review Paper | Uitgave 11/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2019

Childrearing Practices Among Sub-Saharan African Migrants in Australia: a Systematic Review

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2019
Hilda T. Mugadza, Budayi Mujeyi, Brian Stout, Nidhi Wali, Andre M. N. Renzaho
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Supplementary information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-019-01463-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



Australian Child Protection practitioners who work with children from sub-Saharan African migrant backgrounds often face challenges when applying child protection laws and policies to address childrearing and parenting issues. The aim of this study is to examine the influence of cultural beliefs, values, attitudes and practices on childrearing practices within sub-Saharan African communities.


The systematic review was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Databases searched included Science Direct, ProQuest Central, Embase, EbescoHOST (Medline; PsychINFO; CINAHL; ERIC; SocINDEX; PsycARTICLES), Web of Science (SCI-EXPANDED; SSCI) and Google Scholar; the search dates were from January 2000 to December 2016. The studies were assessed using the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) and the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology guidelines (STROBE). The search strategy identified 2631 articles, of which 57 met the inclusion criteria for the review. Participants were children aged from three months old to seventeen years and adults aged eighteen years or older.


Data analysis resulted in 7 primary themes: Illness Conception, Traditional Beliefs and Health-seeking Behaviour; Fosterage and Community Responsibility; Family Dynamics; Discipline; Child Spirits and the Supernatural; Body Stimulation; and Female Genital Mutilation.


Framed within the acculturation theory, the review identifies important factors that converge to provide insight into the specific caregiving context of sub-Saharan African families. It further makes clear that, for the most part, the childrearing practices of sub-Saharan African migrants who settle in Australia are influenced by their cultural values and norms.

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