Enfants et adolescents venus d’ailleurs : la violence vécue dans leur société d’accueil et les effets sur leur santé, une recension des écrits

Claudia Fournier, Louise Hamelin Brabant, Dominique Damant, Geneviève Lessard, Simon Lapierre, Mélissa Dubé-Quenum


OBJECTIVE: This integrative literature review aims to present a comprehensive portrayal of social violence experienced by first-generation immigrant children and adolescents, and its effects on their health and well-being.

METHOD: A French and English languages literature search was conducted in eight databases, without restrictions on dates of publication. Thirty studies were selected. Results were summarized according to three aspects: 1) types of violence experienced by young immigrants; 2) conditions under which this violence occurs; 3) effects of such violence on the health and well-being of young immigrants.

SYNTHESIS: Immigrant children and adolescents can experience various forms of physical, verbal, and relational violence. This violence seems to be mostly instigated by their peers and it has mainly been studied in terms of discrimination. Victimization may vary depending on factors such as ethnic composition of schools or time of residence in the host society. Violence may have many effects on mental health of immigrant youth: it is associated with both increased psychopathological symptoms and poorer mental health. Finally, the experience of violence is related to a more negative attitude of young immigrants toward their host society and a more positive attitude toward their own cultural community.

CONCLUSION: In addition to its having numerous adverse effects on their mental and social health and well-being, violence may prove to be a key factor in the experience of marginalization of immigrant youth. We propose certain research avenues to explore.


Immigrants; violence; discrimination; health; child; adolescent

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.105.3973