Immigrant kids ‘doing just fine’: study

Children born in Sweden of immigrants parents, enjoy as good mental health as children with Swedish-born parents, a new study shows.

“Our thesis I would say was in line with the common conception in our society that children of immigrated parents would have an extra stress factor in life and be affected negatively by that,” researcher Linda Dekeyser, PhD doctoral candidate at the faculty of health sciences (Hälsouniversitetet) at Linköping University, told The Local.

“But we were positively surprised to find that that is not the case.”

The result of the study “Barn i Södra Sverige” (literally: Children in southern Sweden) is based on answers from 1,179 children at the age of 12 in different districts in southern Sweden.

Of these, 142 have at least one immigrant parent.

The 1,179 children were all asked to fill out a copy of “The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire” (SDQ), which is widely used when researching children’s mental health.

The survey included questions about the child’s social strengths, hyperactivity, concentration difficulties and friendship issues.

The researchers found that there was no discernable difference in the mental health of the groups of children, and Dekeyser underlined that the study is important as research in the field is hardly extensive.

“Twenty nine percent of those born in Sweden are children of immigrants, so it’s a very large group in society, but few studies are made to see how these children feel,” she said.

Dekeyser is also working on an additional study which will cover all of Sweden. It will give parents and teachers a chance to answer the same type of questions regarding the children, and the results would be compared.

She however expects the study to show that parents and teachers believe there is a difference in how children with immigrant parents, and those with Swedish parents, feel mentally.

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