migrant children

Migrant children as facilitators of parent health care interactions

Project reference number: HLSPH032


For migrant groups in the UK, there are notable inequalities in both physical and mental health outcomes, and in access to healthcare (Jayaweera, 2014). A key barrier to health care access for many migrants is language skills and ability, and, as a consequence, many non-English speaking migrants will rely on others to translate for them in a range of social interactions, including those related to health care. Children of migrants are often faced with the task of language brokering for non-English speaking parents and this can have consequences for the development, health and well-being of both the parents and their children (Hua & Costigan, 2012; Kam & Lazarevic, 2014). However, there is limited knowledge about the scope or outcomes of language brokering by children in health care situations within the UK, or the four constituent countries.

The Scottish Government strategy 2010- 2015 ‘Getting it right for young carers’ identified support for young carers as a key concern for policy and practitioners, however, this specifically related to children providing a caring service for a dependent relative due to infirmity, illness or ill-health. Children acting as language brokers to facilitate parental health care interactions and access, fall outside this definition, yet can play a critical role in their parents’ health care, and this impact on their own health and well-being.


The aim of this PhD is to investigate:

  1. The scale of language brokering by children of migrant families to facilitate parental health care.
  2. The implications of language brokering for parental well-being.
  3. The implications of language brokering for child well-being.

Application deadline

The application deadline for October intake is 1st of July.

Research supervisors

Candidates are encouraged to contact the following researchers for further details:

Modes of study

This project is available as a:

  • PhD: 3 years full-time or 4.5 years part-time.
  • 1 + 3 route to PhD: Undertaking MRes [1 year full-time or 2 years part-time] + PhD as above


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Specific requirements of the project

Previous experience of quantitative and qualitative research methodology is essential.