Predictors of emotional problems and physical aggression among children of Hong Kong Chinese, Mainland Chinese and Filipino immigrants to Canada

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2010 Oct;45(10):1011-21. doi: 10.1007/s00127-009-0140-3. Epub 2009 Sep 19.


Background and study aims: Data from the New Canadian Children and Youth Study (NCCYS), a national study of immigrant children and youth in Canada, are used to examine the mental health salience of putatively universal determinants, as well as of immigration-specific factors. Universal factors (UF) include age, gender, family and neighbourhood characteristics. Migration-specific (MS) factors include ethnic background, acculturative stress, prejudice, and the impact of region of resettlement within Canada.

Methods: In a sample of children from Hong Kong, the Philippines and Mainland China, the study examined the determinants of emotional problems (EP), and physical aggression (PA). A two-step regression analysis entered UF on step 1, and MS variables on step 2.

Results: Universal factors accounted for 12.1% of EP variance. Addition of MS variables increased explained variance to 15.6%. Significant UF predictors: parental depression, family dysfunction, and parent's education. Significant MS variables: country of origin, region of resettlement, resettlement stress, prejudice, and limited linguistic fluency. UF accounted for 6.3% of variance in PA scores. Adding migration-specific variables increased variance explained to 9.1%. UF: age, gender, parent's depression, family dysfunction. MS: country of origin, region of resettlement, resettlement stress, and parent's perception of prejudice.

Conclusions: Net of the effect of factors affecting the mental health of most, if not all children, migration-specific variables contribute to understanding immigrant children's mental health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology*
  • Affective Symptoms / ethnology
  • Age Distribution
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Asians / psychology
  • Asians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Canada / ethnology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / ethnology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology
  • Philippines / ethnology
  • Prejudice
  • Probability
  • Psychology, Child
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Perception
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires