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Internalizing and externalizing symptoms among unaccompanied refugee and Italian adolescents


  • Thommessen, S.
  • Laghi, F.
  • Cerrone, C.
  • Baiocco, R.
  • Todd, B.K.


This study investigated the prevalence of emotional and behavioral symptoms in unaccompanied refugee adolescents living in Italy; an area which remains under-researched despite the relatively high number of asylum seekers registered in Italy compared to other industrialized countries. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) for 6–18 year-olds was completed by a social worker or parent for each of the 120 participating adolescents; sixty male unaccompanied refugee adolescents and sixty male native Italian adolescents. The paper presents findings that illustrate high levels of emotional and behavioral problems in unaccompanied refugee youth living in Italy. On all components of the CBCL, unaccompanied refugee adolescents were found to present with significantly more problems, as reported by social workers, compared to the Italian group of adolescents. In the light of these results, the importance of interventions and culturally sensitive therapeutic programs for refugee youth is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Thommessen, S. & Laghi, F. & Cerrone, C. & Baiocco, R. & Todd, B.K., 2013. "Internalizing and externalizing symptoms among unaccompanied refugee and Italian adolescents," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 7-10.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:35:y:2013:i:1:p:7-10
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.10.007

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bean, Tammy M. & Eurelings-Bontekoe, Elisabeth & Spinhoven, Philip, 2007. "Course and predictors of mental health of unaccompanied refugee minors in the Netherlands: One year follow-up," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(6), pages 1204-1215, March.
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    1. repec:eee:cysrev:v:85:y:2018:i:c:p:228-238 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:cysrev:v:81:y:2017:i:c:p:293-300 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Laghi, Fiorenzo & Baiocco, Roberto & Cannoni, Eleonora & Di Norcia, Anna & Baumgartner, Emma & Bombi, Anna Silvia, 2013. "Friendship in children with internalizing and externalizing problems: A preliminary investigation with the Pictorial Assessment of Interpersonal Relationships," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1095-1100.


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