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.