International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 63, Issue 9, pp 1037–1045 | Cite as

Perceived well-being in adolescent immigrants: it matters where they come from

  • Alberto BorraccinoEmail author
  • Lorena Charrier
  • Paola Berchialla
  • Giacomo Lazzeri
  • Alessio Vieno
  • Paola Dalmasso
  • Patrizia Lemma
Original Article



The aim of this work was to explore whether adolescent immigrants have worse or better perceived well-being, and whether this perception varies by ethnic background or between first- and second-generation immigrants, when compared with adolescents from the host population.


A representative sample of 47,799 students (13.4% immigrants) aged 11, 13, and 15 years were recruited throughout all Italian regions within the framework of the Italian 2013/2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study.


Adolescent immigrants from Eastern European and non-Western/non-European countries had a higher occurrence of health complaints and the highest risk of reporting low life satisfaction, which increased among the second generation. The risk of reporting bullying behaviours and physical fights was higher in first-generation immigrants and decreased in the second generation, independent of ethnic background.


Italian welfare immigration policies do not seem to offer the same opportunities to all adolescent immigrant groups, which leads to differing effects on their well-being. To tackle these inequalities, Italy should increase its investment in education through early prevention initiatives, e.g. providing support in intercultural education and proper training to school teachers and staff.


First and second adolescent immigrants’ generation Perceived well-being Bullying behaviours Physical fights HBSC 



HBSC is a World Health Organisation cross-national study. The international coordinator for the 2014/2015 study was Johanna Inchley, University of St Andrews; Data Bank Manager: Oddrun Samdal, University of Bergen. In Italy, the study has been carried out since 2001 under the coordination of the Universities of Torino, Padova, and Siena on the behalf of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.

Authors’ contribution

AB and PL edited the draft and completed the manuscript; both made the greatest contribution to the paper; LC and PD conducted the statistical analyses; PB, GL, AV contributed to the final manuscript editing. All authors participated in designing the study and data collection as members of the HBSC Italian team. All authors have critically revised the manuscript and approved its final version.


The survey was partly funded by the Italian Ministry of Health (Grant No. cap.4393/2005-CCM).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the research committee recommendations and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study at local authority, school, parent/guardian, and student levels. No reimbursement was planned nor provided for participation.

Supplementary material

38_2018_1165_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (58 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 58 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Borraccino
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lorena Charrier
    • 1
  • Paola Berchialla
    • 2
  • Giacomo Lazzeri
    • 3
  • Alessio Vieno
    • 4
  • Paola Dalmasso
    • 1
  • Patrizia Lemma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and PaediatricsUniversity of TorinoTurinItaly
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Biological SciencesUniversity of TorinoTurinItaly
  3. 3.Department of Molecular and Developmental MedicineUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Developmental and Social PsychologyUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly

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