Mental Health of Children Born to Immigrant Parents in Ireland: A Pilot Study

Abstract

The ethnic profile in Ireland has changed in recent years with an increase in the number of immigrant families. No previous studies have examined mental health issues in immigrant children in Ireland. This study aimed to examine the rates of psychological disturbance in a sample of second-generation immigrant children and to compare them with a group of Irish children living in the same geographic area. Primary school-aged children were recruited from a randomly selected school in Dublin, the capital city, and examined using Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 (CBCL). In addition to CBCL, parents also filled in a family background questionnaire. The CBCL revealed that immigrant girls had a significant higher mean score of internalising score (14.56; SD = 3.03) than Irish boys (8.38, SD = 6.5). Immigrant girls also had a higher mean score (4.8; SD = 2.4) on withdrawn scale in comparison to Irish girls (2; SD = 1.7) and Irish boys (2; SD = 1.83). Borderline clinically significant means were detected for the Pervasive developmental problem on the CBCL-DSM orientated subscale in immigrant children. Despite the detected borderline clinically significant means for the Pervasive developmental problem in immigrant children and the higher scores of immigrant girls on internalising and withdrawn scales, larger studies are still needed to replicate the results.

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Correspondence to Norbert Skokauskas.

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Masaud, T., Dunne, M. & Skokauskas, N. Mental Health of Children Born to Immigrant Parents in Ireland: A Pilot Study. Community Ment Health J 51, 97–102 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-014-9738-3

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Keywords

  • Immigrant children
  • Immigrant mental health
  • Child psychiatry
  • Second generation children
  • Trans-cultural psychiatry