European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 145–152

Psychosocial problems among immigrant and non-immigrant children

Ethnicity plays a role in their occurrence and identification
  • S. A. Reijneveld
  • P. Harland
  • E. Brugman
  • F. C. Verhulst
  • S. P. Verloove-Vanhorick
ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION

Abstract

Background

This study aims to examine a) the prevalence of psychosocial problems and b) the association between parent-reported problems and the identification by doctors and nurses (child health professionals, CHP) working in preventive child health care, among immigrant and non-immigrant children.

Methods

CHPs examined 4,098 children aged 5 through 15 years (response: 90.1%) and interviewed parents and children during their routine health assessments in 19 Child Healthcare Services across the Netherlands, serving nearly all school-aged children routinely. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was completed by the parents. We compared five ethnic groups: indigenous Dutch, economic immigrants, immigrants from (former) Dutch colonies, from other non-industrialised, and from other industrialised countries.

Results

The prevalence of parent-reported problems on the CBCL is higher among children from former Dutch colonies and economic immigrant children than among indigenous children, especially regarding internalising problems (odds ratios (OR); 95% confidence interval: 1.84; 1.03 to 3.29, and 2.52; 1.46 to 4.34). CHPs identified more problems among economic immigrant children (OR: 1.62; 1.01 to 2.60). Regarding associations, rates of CHP-identified problems were higher among indigenous children with clinical compared with normal CBCL Total Problems scores (OR: 6.90; 5.27 to 9.03), but not among economic immigrant children (OR: 0.73; 0.16 to 3.21).

Conclusions

Psychosocial problems occur more frequently among some immigrant groups. CHP identification of psychosocial problems is poorly associated with parent report regarding economic immigrant children. This needs to be improved in order to provide better care.

Key words

ethnicity mental health preventive child health care early identification children 

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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. Reijneveld
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. Harland
    • 2
    • 3
  • E. Brugman
    • 2
  • F. C. Verhulst
    • 4
  • S. P. Verloove-Vanhorick
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.University Medical Center GroningenUniversity of Groningen Department of Health SciencesGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.TNO (Netherlands Organisation of Applied Scientific Research) Prevention and HealthLeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR)LeidenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Erasmus University Rotterdam, Academic Hospital Rotterdam-SophiaRotterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Leiden University Medical Center, Department of PediatricsLeidenThe Netherlands

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