Research on an international and national context regarding immigrant children and adolescents’ quality of life (QoL) is rather scarce. Few international studies have been conducted investigating the presence of psychopathology and providing evidence of behavioural and psychological problems in immigrant adolescents. Regarding immigrant quality of life, thus far investigation was directed mainly to adult immigrant individuals and not to their children. The aim of the present study was to investigate the quality of life (QoL) of immigrant children and young adolescents who live in the greater Athens area, and to compare them with their native Greek peers living in the same communities and attending the same schools. Method: Sixty three immigrant children, from Albanian and Eastern European origin (mean age 11.9 years) and 489 native children (mean age 11.33 years) were administered a QoL instrument specifically developed for children and adolescents: the Kid-KINDLR Questionnaire for 8–12 years old and the Kiddo-KINDLR Questionnaire for 13–16 years old. The dimensions examined in the KINDLR questionnaire refer to: physical wellbeing, emotional well-being, self- esteem, friends, family life and everyday life (school life). The Greek version is reported to show satisfactory values of validity and reliability. Administration of questionnaires was conducted at school after parent consent. Analysis included student’s t-test, chi-square test, and multivariate linear regression analysis, as to investigate the relationship between KINDLR QoL dimensions’ scores and nationality status, after controlling for gender and age. The results indicated that self-reported QoL scores of immigrant children were significantly poorer in comparison to native children in the domains of self-esteem and family life, as well as in the total QoL scores. In the rest of the QoL domains, similar scores were reported in both immigrant and their native classmates, that is in the dimensions of physical well-being, emotional well-being, friends and school. Investigating the effect of gender in KINDLR QoL parameters, after controlling for nationality and age, no evidence was found for differences between male and female children. Regarding the effect of age, older compared to younger in age children scored significantly lower in emotional well-being, self-esteem, and friends, school and total QoL. The results provide evidence of QoL deficits in self-esteem and family life in immigrant children. QoL deficits seem to increase in more areas as immigrant children grow older. Dimensions regarding self-perception and family may be interrelated, mutually influencing one another. It may be suggested that immigrant children seem to experience reduced self-esteem and distressful feelings within family interpersonal relations. As they grow older, distress seems to become more evident in emotional and social areas of QoL. Mental health interventions should take into account the multilevel impact of family interpersonal experiences on child’s psychosocial development, as to design and deliver appropriate interventions supporting parenting for immigrant groups of individuals. Also, specialized mental health promotion programs need to be provided for adolescent immigrant individuals.

Key words: Quality of life, immigrant children, immigrant adolescents, self-esteem. 

V. Rotsika, M. Vlassopoulos, Α. Kokkevi, Ι. Fragkaki, D.C. Anagnostopoulos, H. Lazaratou, M. Ginieri-Coccossis (page 37) - Full article