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Issue: Issue 1 (2014)

Original Article

Mental health representations, help-seeking behaviors, and perceived access barriers of expatriate adolescent children

Marta Gonçalves and Diana Farcas
Background: Currently, due to globalization and the world’s economic situation, international organizations tend to remain competitive by acquiring employees with global management skills, the so called expatriates. Usually, family members accompany expatriates in the international relocation experience. Expatriate adolescent children (EAC) may suffer additional psychological distress. In order to better assist them it is important to understand their mental health representations, help-seeking behaviors, and pWe conducted an online survey, which was completed by 51 students aged 12–16 years of an international school in Portugal, 35.3% of which EAC.

Results: Results show similarities and differences in the way mental health is perceived by EAC and non-EAC. Both perceive a good mental health as "not using drugs", while not feeling well psychologically is understood as "something that has to be taken seriously". The most predominant help-seeking behavior is distraction (e.g. reading), while talking with someone presents high average values and significant differences between the two groups of students. EAC mostly refer that problems should be solved in the family context. The ones who have already sought a mental health professional while in the host country, refer problems related to classmates and family.

Conclusion: An improved understanding of representations and behaviors for expatriate adolescent children, as well as knowledge of current interventions involving the family-school-primary care triangle among expatriate families will lead to a better adjustment of expatriates in international assignments. 

Keywords: Mental health representations, Help-seeking behaviors, Perceived access barriers, Expatriate adolescent children.

International Journal of Clinical Neurosciences and Mental Health 2014; 1:17

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