Self-reported mental health in 12-year-old second-generation immigrant children in Sweden

Nord J Psychiatry. 2011 Dec;65(6):389-95. doi: 10.3109/08039488.2011.566936. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Abstract

Background: Today 29.3% of all newborns in Sweden are second-generation immigrants. Studies on mental health among these children are few, inconclusive and vary widely with regard to the informant used and the age of the immigrant. The majority of previous studies focus on study groups that cover a wide age span but since mental health varies considerably during the preadolescent and adolescent years, more age-specific studies are needed. Additional focus on the health and well-being of these children is necessary if a well-functioning society is to develop.

Aim: To investigate whether and how second-generation immigrant children in Sweden differ from non-immigrant children in their presentation of self-reported mental health at the age of 12.

Methods: Second-generation immigrant children (n = 142) from a birth cohort in southern Sweden, subjects of the SESBiC-study (the South East Sweden Birth Cohort-study) were compared with non-immigrant children (n = 1036) from the same cohort in their presentation of self-reported mental health at the age of 12 using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Gender, family structure and parents' educational level were controlled for.

Results: Second-generation immigrant children did not differ from the non-immigrant children in their own presentation of mental health at the age of 12 in any of the categories of immigrant groups.

Conclusion: It is a promising sign for future integration that second-generation immigrant children's self-reported mental health at the age of 12 was quite similar to that of non-immigrant children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Parents
  • Self Report
  • Sweden