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Parent reports of child behavior problems in young Sami children: A cross-cultural comparison


 In a general population study of 4-year-olds, using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), parent reports of child behavior problems were compared in samples of 67 monoethnic Sami, 52 multiethnic Sami/Norwegian, and 63 monoethnic Norwegian children from the Sami core area in northern Norway. Mean CBCL total problem scores were low for all three groups [Sami: 21.1 (SD 15.5), Sami/Norwegian: 19.4 (SD 12.2) and Norwegian: 18.8 (SD 13.6)]. No significant differences across ethnic groups were found for the Total Problems scale and the Internalizing and Externalizing scales, nor for the syndrome scales, except for the Withdrawn scale, the Sami/Norwegian sample showing the highest scores. However, significant ethnicity × gender interactions emerged, indicating that the effect of ethnicity was different for boys versus girls. Sami mothers reported the highest and the Norwegian mothers the lowest scores for girls, whereas the opposite pattern was found for boys. Correlations between mothers' and fathers' reports were generally low. Differences in mean scale scores between pairs of parents (n = 122) were found for boys but not for girls, mothers scoring higher than fathers. The authors underline the importance of taking gender differences, age and ethnic context into account when assessing problem behavior in minority children. Methodological problems in cross-cultural assessments, including the influence of cultural norms of child behavior on parents' problem ratings, are discussed.

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Accepted: 18 January 2000

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Javo, C., Heyerdahl, S. & Rønning, J. Parent reports of child behavior problems in young Sami children: A cross-cultural comparison. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 9, 202–211 (2000).

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  • Key words CBCL – behavior problems – preschool – Sami – cross-cultural