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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2005 May;14(3):145-52.

Psychosocial problems among immigrant and non-immigrant children--ethnicity plays a role in their occurrence and identification.

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University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Department of Health Sciences, P.O. Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.



This study aims to examine a) the prevalence of psychosocial problems and b) the association between parent-reported problems and the identification by doctors and nurses (child health professionals, CHP) working in preventive child health care, among immigrant and non-immigrant children.


CHPs examined 4,098 children aged 5 through 15 years (response: 90.1%) and interviewed parents and children during their routine health assessments in 19 Child Healthcare Services across the Netherlands, serving nearly all school-aged children routinely. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was completed by the parents. We compared five ethnic groups: indigenous Dutch, economic immigrants, immigrants from (former) Dutch colonies, from other non-industrialised, and from other industrialised countries.


The prevalence of parent-reported problems on the CBCL is higher among children from former Dutch colonies and economic immigrant children than among indigenous children, especially regarding internalizing problems (odds ratios (OR); 95% confidence interval: 1.84; 1.03 to 3.29, and 2.52; 1.46 to 4.34). CHPs identified more problems among economic immigrant children (OR: 1.62; 1.01 to 2.60). Regarding associations, rates of CHP-identified problems were higher among indigenous children with clinical compared with normal CBCL Total Problems scores (OR: 6.90; 5.27 to 9.03), but not among economic immigrant children (OR: 0.73; 0.16 to 3.21).


Psychosocial problems occur more frequently among some immigrant groups. CHP identification of psychosocial problems is poorly associated with parent report regarding economic immigrant children. This needs to be improved in order to provide better care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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