Immigrant children are exposed to high levels of psychological distress, leading to an increased risk of mental and physical health problems. In the present study we investigated the impact of first and second generation immigrant children’s proficiency in the host country language on their psychological well-being one year later. The effects of gender, family SES, and classmates’ characteristics were also examined. A structural equation model was tested on 2334 immigrant children in a representative sample of 561 Italian primary schools taking measurement errors into account. Children’s language proficiency significantly predicted their psychological well-being one year later, both in first and second immigrant generations (B =.23; p <.001). None of the other variables had a significant impact. Improving the language skills of immigrant children could promote their mental health, regardless of their backgrounds and whether they were born in the host country or not.
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