Cite: Atzaba-Poria, Internalizing Problems in Childhood by FSU & Israeli Children

Atzaba-Poria, Naama. “Internalizing and Externalizing Problems in Early Childhood. A Study of Former Soviet Union and Veteran-Israeli Children Living in Israel.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 42.6 (2011): 983-997.




The present study set out to investigate the adjustment of Former Soviet Union (FSU) children living in Israel as well as their veteran-Israeli peers. The sample consisted of 145 children (70 veteran-Israelis and 75 FSU) between the ages of 4.0 and 6.5 years old (M = 5.54, SD = .48) and their parents. Mothers and fathers reported about the children’s problem behavior and on their own parenting behavior. Analyses revealed that FSU children exhibited more externalizing and peer problems than did their veteran-Israeli peers. No significant differences, however, were found for internalizing problems. Furthermore, FSU mothers and fathers reported significantly lower levels of authoritarian parenting behavior than did their veteran-Israeli counterparts. Finally, ethnicity was found to moderate links between parenting and children’s problem behavior for mothers but not for fathers. Specifically, for the veteran-Israeli group, the more authoritarian mothers were, the more externalizing and peer problems their children exhibited. However, for the FSU families, the more authoritarian mothers were, the more internalizing problems suffered by their children. These findings suggest that authoritarian parenting may be reflected differently in distinct cultures and cultural conditions, and they highlight the importance of considering both mothers and fathers, as they may go through different acculturation processes.

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