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Minerva Pediatrica 2018 Feb 19

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.18.04959-9


language: English

Psychopathological risk in a sample of immigrant preadolescents in Italy

Anna RIVA, Renata NACINOVICH , Elisa BRIVIO, Francesca MAPELLI, Sara M. ROSSI, Francesca NERI, Monica BOMBA

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Department, San Gerardo Hospital, ASST Monza, University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy


BACKGROUND: Aim of the study is to collect information about emotional features in a sample of immigrant preadolescents in order to identify traits of emotional fragility or psychopathological risk factors.
METHODS: The sample consists of 1206 preadolescents (180 immigrants, 1026 Italian natives) attending the third year of the middle schools. In order to assess anxiety levels and the presence of depressive symptoms the Self- Administered Psychiatric Scale (SAFA-A) and the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) were administered. Coping strategies and behavior problems were evaluated by the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situation (CISS) and the Youth Self Report scale (YRS). All teachers filled out the Teacher's Report Form (TRF). Parents were asked to fill out a form on social-demographic features and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS).
RESULTS: Immigration resulted a risk factor for development of anxiety (OR=0,702), depression (OR=0,644), internalizing problems (OR=0,685), behavior problems (OR=0,622) and total problems (OR=0,719). Teachers observed more behavior problems and lower competences in immigrants than natives. Immigrants relied significantly more often on emotion-oriented coping strategies to resolve stressful situation than natives (p=0,045). Analyzing the immigrants sample, second generation children reported significantly higher levels in total competence (school, activity and relationship) than first generation ones (p=<00,1); on the contrary there were no significant differences between the two groups concerning other behavioral and emotional problems or the preferred coping style. Natives' families reported significantly higher levels of perceived support than immigrant ones.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirms the hypothesis that preadolescent immigrants are more at risk for psychopathological risk factors than native peers.

KEY WORDS: Immigration - Psychopatological risk - Preadolescents

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