The Influence of Cultural Discordance

The influence of cultural discordance is complex. The family environment of immigrant children and youth may differ from their school and social environment, which can lead to contradictory familial and societal expectations. It is possible that the tension that these children and youth feel from the differences in their home life compared to their lives in the greater community, especially at school, may be a concern for them.  This situation may influence their sense of well-being and resultant behaviours, and may also influence their future-life-success.1 On the other hand family ties and social resources could also buffer adversity, thereby protecting their well-being.2

1Wilkins R, Tjepkema M, Mustard C, Choiniere R. The Canadian census mortality follow-up study, 1991 through 2001. Health Rep 2008;19:25-43.

2Child Health System Indicator Summary. 2006. (Accessed 2011, at


The context of children’s lives, especially the influence of cultural discordance has not been extensively studied in Canada.  This can result in a lack of information upon which to base effective services designed for immigrant and refugee children.

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