Internalizing and externalizing problems in immigrant boys and girls: Comparing native Dutch and Moroccan immigrant adolescents across time

Carmen Paalman, Lieke van Domburgh, Gonneke Stevens, Robert Vermeiren, Peter van de Ven, Susan Branje, Tom Frijns, W.H.J. Meeus, Hans Koot, Pol van Lier, Lucres Jansen, Theo Doreleijers

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This longitudinal study explores differences between native Dutch and immigrant Moroccan adolescents in the relationship between internalizing and externalizing problems across time. By using generalized estimating equations (GEE), the strength and stability of associations between internalizing and externalizing problems in 159 Moroccan and 159 Dutch adolescents was studied over a period of 4 years. No differences in strength of co-occurring problems were found between Moroccan and Dutch adolescents. However, for Moroccan adolescents, associations between problems increased over time, whereas in Dutch adolescents, associations remained stable. The increase of co-occurring problems may be a result of undertreatment and increasing complexity of problems in Moroccans during adolescence. The results of this study imply that investigating processes leading to co-occurring problems in subgroups of adolescents, such as immigrant youths, is needed to optimize prevention and intervention efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-254
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • adolescents
  • co-occurrence
  • ethnicity
  • externalizing problems
  • immigrant
  • internalizing problems

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