Reported by Mothers of Pacific Island
2-Year-Olds Born In New Zealand
societies today include multiple ethnic groups. People
from numerous Pacific Island groups have long lived in
New Zealand. To assess the levels of problems among children
of different Pacific Island backgrounds, the Pacific Island
Family Study (PIF; Paterson, Carter, Gao, & Perese,
2007) is following Pacific Island children born at Middlemore
Hospital in Auckland, NZ. Among other assessments, Pacific
Island interviewers administered the CBCL/1.5-5 to mothers
of 1,028 2-year-olds. Ethnicity of the children was classified
as Samoan, Cook Island, Niuean, Tongan, or other-Pacific.
Scores on the seven CBCL/1.5-5 syndromes, Internalizing,
Externalizing, and Total Problems were compared for the
different ethnic groups, with many family variables included
in the analyses. In addition to ethnicity, the variables
included mother's education, age, cultural alignment (e.g.,
primarily NZ vs. primarily Pacific Island), discipline
practices, number of years living in NZ, country of birth,
number of children, and household size. After controlling
for the effects of the other variables, the lowest Total
Problem scores were found for Samoan children, while the
highest were found for Tongan children. Across all the
ethnic groups, mothers with the highest levels of education
reported fewer Internalizing, Externalizing, and Total
Problems than mothers with lower levels of education.
Mothers with the smallest households reported fewer Internalizing
problems than mothers with larger households, and mothers
who used the harshest discipline reported more Externalizing
problems than mothers who used less harsh discipline.
Lower levels of problems among children of better educated
mothers and higher levels of Externalizing problems among
children of mothers who used harsh discipline have also
been found in studies of other cultural groups. Although
there were clear differences in problem levels reported
for children of different Pacific Island groups, the associations
of problem scores with maternal education and discipline
cut across the different groups.
Paterson, J., Carter, S., Gao, W., & Perese, L. (2007).
Pacific Islands Families Study: behavioral problems among
two-year-old Pacific children living in New Zealand. Journal
of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48, 514-522.