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Keywords:

  • comparative study;
  • Japanese-Brazilian children;
  • mental health;
  • Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire

Aims:  This study aimed to make a comparison of the mental health status between Japanese-Brazilian children in Japan and in Brazil.

Methods:  A total of 331 Japanese-Brazilian children at five Brazilian schools in Japan (Japanese Group), and 172 Japanese-Brazilian children at one private school in São Paulo (Brazilian Group) were enrolled in statistical analyses. The Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire was applied for parents, teachers, and students who were aged over 11 years old.

Results:  The total comparison of the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire scores between the two groups demonstrated that all the average symptom scores except prosocial behavior were significantly higher in the Japanese Group by parent report. By teacher report, the average symptom scores of conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and total difficulties were significantly higher in the Japanese Group, while that of the prosocial behavior was significantly higher in the Brazilian Group. Dividing parent and teacher reports into two age ranges, similar results to the total comparison were seen in the parent report in the age range of 4–10-year-olds and both parent and teacher reports in that of 11–16-year-olds, while in the teacher report for 4–10-year-olds, only conduct problems and total difficulties score showed significantly higher average scores in the Japanese Group. By self-report, the average symptom scores of emotional symptoms, peer problems and total difficulties score were significantly higher in the Japanese Group.

Conclusion:  The results indicate poorer mental health status in the Japanese Group than the Brazilian Group, and suggest the adverse circumstances of the former group both at their homes and schools.