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Mental health in migrant schoolchildren in Italy: teacher-reported behavior and emotional problems

Authors Margari L, Pinto F, Lafortezza ME, Lecce PA, Craig F, Grattagliano I, Zagaria G, Margari F

Received 6 September 2012

Accepted for publication 12 October 2012

Published 11 February 2013 Volume 2013:9 Pages 231—241

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S37829

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Lucia Margari,1 Floriana Pinto,1 Maria Elena Lafortezza,1 Paola Alessandra Lecce,1 Francesco Craig,1 Ignazio Grattagliano,2 Giuseppina Zagaria,1 Francesco Margari3

1Unit of Child Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, University of "Aldo Moro," Bari, Italy; 2Department of Criminology, University of "Aldo Moro," Bari, Italy; 3Unit of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, University of "Aldo Moro," Bari, Italy

Abstract: The migration process is a cause of physical and social stressors that may lead to mental health problems, particularly in children. In Italy, there are few studies about migrant children's mental health; thus, the aim of this study is to compare the prevalence and types of emotional and behavioral problems in migrant schoolchildren to those of native Italian children. The research involved migrant (first- and second-generation) and native schoolchildren attending kindergarten, primary, and secondary school. A questionnaire was administered to parents to collect information about the sociodemographic characteristics of the children. All teachers filled in the Teacher's Report Form for migrant and native children. The findings show that teachers detect academic and adaptive problems more easily in migrant schoolchildren, but they are probably less aware of the children's psychological problems. The observations made in this study provide a starting point in understanding the psychological status and main problems noted among migrant children.

Keywords: migrant children, mental health, teacher report, adaptive troubles, emotional problems

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