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Psychosocial adaptation of immigrant Greek children from the former Soviet Union


Background: The objective of this study was to assess psychiatric disorders in, and the psychosocial adaptation and academic performance of, children of immigrant families of Greek origin from countries of the former Soviet Union. Method: At a preliminary stage, all immigrant children (276) aged 8–12 years attending 22 schools in a working-class suburb of Athens were assessed by their teachers in terms of behaviour and academic performance. They and their families had migrated to Greece within the previous three years. A matching control group of native children (251) attending the same schools and classes was also assessed. For an in-depth assessment of psychopathology and social adaptation, 65 immigrant and 41 native children were randomly selected from the two larger groups and were further assessed. Results: No statistically significant differences were observed between the immigrant and native children in terms of psychopathology and social adaptation, although a few differences were observed in subscales. However, there were significant differences between the groups in academic performance, that of the immigrant group being poorer, particularly in language-related areas (p < 0.01). In the light of these results, language enrichment classes are suggested for immigrant children who need them.

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Accepted: 22 November 2002

Correspondence to G. Kolaitis

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Kolaitis, G., Tsiantis, J., Madianos, M. et al. Psychosocial adaptation of immigrant Greek children from the former Soviet Union. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 12, 67–74 (2003).

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  • Key words immigrant children – psychosocial adaptation – academic difficulties