Perceived ethnic discrimination and social exclusion: newcomer immigrant children in Canada.

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


This article examines relationships between perceived ethnic discrimination, social exclusion, psychosocial functioning, and academic performance among newcomer immigrant children from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines using a subsample from the New Canadian Children and Youth Study of children aged 11-13 years (1,053) living in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and the Prairies. Bivariate analysis showed that 25% of children reported being treated unfairly by peers and 14% by teachers because of who they are. Regression analyses revealed that perceived ethnic discrimination by peers and teachers was negatively related to children's sense of social competence in peer relationships. Children's self-esteem and sense of academic competence were negatively related to perceived discrimination by teachers. One in 5 children reported feeling like an outsider, with boys revealing higher levels of psychological isolation than girls. More than 1 in 10 were socially isolated and reported never participating in organized activities. This may reflect economic exclusion, as over one third of respondents belonged to families living below the Canadian Income Adequacy Measure. Psychological isolation, social isolation, and economic exclusion were significant predictors of children's sense of academic competence and actual academic grades. Variations exist across age, sex, ethnicity, family structure, parental education, region of settlement, and length of time since arrival in Canada.

Publication (Name of Journal)

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry