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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2012 December;64(6):649-54


language: Italian

Severe side effects of health migration: stress and anger

Massimo L. M. 1, Bazzari M. 2, Caprino D. 3

1 Dipartimento di Ematologia e Oncologia Pediatrica, IRCCS Giannina Gaslini, Genova, Italia; 2 Direzione Sanitaria, IRCCS Giannina Gaslini, Genova, Italia


A great deal of immigrants of very sick children treated in our country are unable to elaborate an effective coping strategy and a methodology of resilience. Their culture and communication difficulties do not allow them to build a strong self help system. Herein, we report five stories of mothers and children who were cared for in our Children’s Hospital. Anger; this is quite a common emotion among many immigrant parents of sick children with high risk diseases who have been treated in our hospital for long periods of time. They live together in community housing with families from other countries, and of different religions and habits. Anger affects their personal and social well-being. Self-blame is a common expression of their condition, and they are unable to make helpful self sacrifices. They feel anger as a result of what has happened to them, and they do not have the abilities they need to activate a good defence mechanism. Resilience is completely unknown to them. In most cases, their relatives do not intend to help them. These mothers are far from their families and habits, they are alone with their child, they suffer but their relatives push them to go back home and to renounce to the hope of cure given by the physicians. They experience a loss in their self-monitoring ability to build a coping strategy and resilience. In these cases their display of anger is often exaggerated. The anger of the immigrants is an additional problem for physicians and other caregivers working in hospitals which treat immigrant children.

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