Parent, teacher and self-reported problem behavior in The Netherlands: Comparing Moroccan immigrant with Dutch and with Turkish immigrant children and adolescents

Gonneke W.J.M. Stevens*, Trees Pels, Leyla Bengi-Arslan, Frank C. Verhulst, Wilma A.M. Vollebergh, Alfons A.M. Crijnen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background. Although literature leaves little doubt that migration from one country to another is stressful, empirical studies do not warrant general conclusions regarding the impact of migration on psychological development. Moroccans and Turks are two of the largest immigrant groups in The Netherlands, and share a similar migration history and religion. However, there are important differences between Turkish and Moroccan society, for example, in the level of education and illiteracy. In this study, emotional and behavioral problems of Moroccan immigrant children were compared to those of Dutch native children and Turkish immigrant children. Methods. Our samples consisted of 819 Moroccan immigrant children, 2,227 Dutch native children and 833 Turkish immigrant children between the age of 4 and 18. Parent, teacher and self-reports were obtained, using the Child Behavior Checklist, Teacher's Report Form and Youth Self-Report. Results. Moroccan parents reported as many problems as Dutch parents, but less problems than Turkish parents. Teachers, however, presented a different picture: substantially more externalizing problems were reported for Moroccan pupils compared to Dutch and Turkish pupils. Moroccan adolescents themselves reported less problems than Dutch and Turkish adolescents. Conclusions. The effects of migration on children and adolescents of two populations with a similar migration history and religion can be rather different. Problem levels vary widely with the informant questioned. The results of the present study may reflect true differences in children's behavior, both across ethnic groups and across the contexts of home and school. Perceptual biases, social desirability in answering patterns and differences in thresholds to report problem behaviors may also be responsible for the observed differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-585
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume38
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Child behavior checklist
  • Children
  • Emotional and behavioral problems
  • Immigrants
  • Moroccans

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