Social psychiatry

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 11–16

Psychiatric disorders in children and family dysfunction

A study of migrant workers' families
  • Hans-Christoph Steinhausen
Social Functioning and Psychiatric Symptoms


Children and families of Greek and Turkish migrant workers were compared with two samples of German subjects in West Berlin. One sample contained lower class subjects only, while the other was representative with regard to social class composition based on local census data. All four samples were matched with regard to age and sex of the children. While the Greek sample was based on epidemiological screening procedures of the total population of 8- to 11-year-old children, the Turkish subjects came from one primary school situated in an area densely populated by Turks. The study was based on parental interviews covering the areas of child psychopathology and family functioning. With regard to psychiatric disorders in children, the Turks had the highest frequency and the Greeks the lowest. The frequency of family-functioning disorders was distributed similarly. Although there were clear correlations between the severity of the child's disturbance and certain indicators of disturbed family functioning, migration factors did not have the same impact. It is hypothesized that different degrees of cultural pressure and family organization account for these findings.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Christoph Steinhausen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and NeurologyFree University BerlinFRG

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