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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 221–225 | Cite as

Adolescent Risk Behaviours and Psychological Distress across Immigrant Generations

  • Hayley A. Hamilton
  • Samuel Noh
  • Edward M. Adlaf
Quantitative Research

Abstract

Objective

To examine disparities in hazardous and harmful drinking, illicit drug use, delinquency, and psychological distress among three immigrant generations of youth.

Methods

Data on 4,069 students were derived from the 2005 cycle of the Ontario Student Drug Use Survey, a province-wide school-based survey of 7th to 12th graders. The survey employed a two-stage cluster design (school, class). Analyses include adjustments for the complex survey design, specifically stratification, clusters, and weights.

Results

Both drug use and hazardous and harmful drinking increase across immigrant generations. First-generation youth report significantly less use than second-generation youth, who in turn report less use than third and later generations. Generational differences in the levels of hazardous and harmful drinking increase with age. Delinquency is significantly less among first-generation youth relative to youth of other immigrant generations. Symptoms of psychological distress are highest among first-generation youth compared to youth of other immigrant generations.

Conclusion

The nature of differences between foreign- and native-born adolescents varies across behaviours. As such, it is important to gain knowledge about the adjustment levels of these two groups with regard to specific components of well-being. Such knowledge is necessary for developing policies and programs to promote emotional and behavioural health.

Key words

Immigrants adolescents substance use delinquency psychological distress Ontario 

Résumé

Objectif

Examiner les disparités entre la consommation alcoolique dangereuse et dommageable, l’usage illicite de drogues, la délinquance et la détresse psychologique pour trois générations de jeunes immigrants.

Méthodes

Les données relatives à 4 069 étudiants ont été dérivées du Sondage de 2005 sur la consommation de drogues parmi les élèves de l’Ontario, une enquête scolaire provinciale réalisée auprès d’étudiants de la 7e à la 12e année. Le sondage a utilisé une méthode de grappes à deux étages (école, classe). Les analyses comprennent des ajustements pour la conception de sondage complexe, et plus particulièrement une stratification, des grappes et des pondérations.

Résultats

L’usage des drogues et la consommation alcoolique dangereuse et dommageable sont en hausse dans toutes les générations d’immigrants. Les jeunes de première génération présentent un usage beaucoup moins marqué que ceux de la deuxième génération qui, à leur tour, consomment moins que les jeunes de la troisième génération et des générations suivantes. Les différences entre les générations sur le plan des niveaux de consommation alcoolique dangereuse et dommageable augmentent en fonction de l’âge. La délinquance chez les jeunes de la première génération est beaucoup moins marquée que chez les jeunes immigrants des générations suivantes. Les symptômes de détresse psychologique chez les jeunes de la première génération sont beaucoup plus fréquents que chez les jeunes immigrants des générations suivantes.

Conclusion

La nature des différences entre les adolescents étrangers et les adolescents nés au pays varie selon le comportement. À ce titre, il est important de mieux connaître les niveaux d’ajustement de ces deux groupes à l’égard des composantes particulières du mieux-être. Ces connaissances sont nécessaires pour élaborer les politiques et les programmes qui favoriseront la santé émotive et comportementale.

Mots clés

immigrants; adolescents consommation d’alcool et de drogues délinquance détresse psychologique Ontario 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayley A. Hamilton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Samuel Noh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Edward M. Adlaf
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Social Equity and Health ResearchCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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