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Internalising and externalising problems in middle childhood: A study of Indian (ethnic minority) and English (ethnic majority) children living in Britain

By N Atzaba-Poria, A Pike and M Barrett


The psychological adjustment of ethnic minority children has received little research attention, particularly in Britain. The present study set out to investigate the adjustment of Indian children living in Britain as well as the adjustment of their English peers. The sample consisted of 125 children (66 Indian and 59 English) between the ages of 7 and 9 years ( M = 8.51, SD = 0.62) and their parents and teachers. Mothers, fathers, and teachers reported about the children's problem behaviour, and parents also reported on their acculturation strategy and use of their Indian language. Analyses revealed that overall Indian children seem to be well adjusted in Britain. Nevertheless, according to parental reports, they exhibited more internalising problems than did their English peers. No significant differences, however, were found for externalising or total problem behaviour. Furthermore, within the Indian group, it was found that children whose mothers and fathers were more traditional in their acculturation style displayed lower levels of externalising, internalising and total problem behaviour, according to their teachers. In addition, children whose mothers and fathers utilised their Indian language to a greater extent displayed lower levels of externalising and total problem behaviour (teachers' reports). These findings highlight the importance of examining the adjustment of ethnic minority children in multiple contexts

Year: 2004
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