Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1240–1258 | Cite as

Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Migrant Children and Adolescents in American Countries: A Systematic Review

  • Esmahan Belhadj Kouider
  • Ute Koglin
  • Franz Petermann
Original Paper


The present review postulates the current mental health status in migrant children and adolescents in the North American continent. 35 studies published from 2009 to 2013 chosen from a systematic literature research were included. Almost all studies were conducted in the United States and Canada. From the perspective of selection effect, migration as a risk factor was not proven. The migration process perspective could have underestimated a higher danger of problem behavior in second-generation migrant children. Comparing native and migrant children, balanced results in problem behavior were reported, but the Asian migrant group was at higher risk of developing mental disorders. Family-based risk factors were offered: high acculturation stress, low English language competence, language brokering, discrepancies in children’s and parent’s cultural orientation, the non-Western cultural orientation, e.g., collectivistic, acceptance feelings of parents, or harsh parenting. However, the importance to support migrant families in the acculturation process becomes apparent.


Emotional and behavioral problems Migration Children Adolescents Review 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esmahan Belhadj Kouider
    • 1
  • Ute Koglin
    • 2
  • Franz Petermann
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Clinical Psychology and RehabilitationBremenGermany
  2. 2.Institutes for Special Education and Rehabilitation, Psychology Group for Special Education and RehabilitationUniversity OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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