Better mental health in children of Vietnamese refugees compared with their Norwegian peers - a matter of cultural difference?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: There are conflicting results on whether immigrant children are at a heightened risk of mental health problems compared with native youth in the resettlement country. The objective of the study: To compare the mental health of 94 Norwegian-born children from a community cohort of Vietnamese refugees, aged 4 - 18 years, with that of a Norwegian community sample. Methods: The SDQ was completed by two types of informants; the children's self-reports, and the parents' reports, for comparison with Norwegian data from the Health Profiles for Children and Youth in the Akershus study. Results: The self-perceived mental health of second-generation Vietnamese in Norway was better than that of their Norwegian compatriots, as assessed by the SDQ. In the Norwegian-Vietnamese group, both children and parents reported a higher level of functioning. Conclusion: This surprising finding may result from the lower prevalence of mental distress in Norwegian-Vietnamese children compared with their Norwegian peers, or from biased reports and cultural differences in reporting emotional and behavioural problems. These findings may represent the positive results of the children's bi-cultural competencies.
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
CopyrightCopyright 2009 Vaage et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd
Aina Vaage et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.