Teachers' Perceptions of Maladaptive Behaviour in Lebanese Refugee Children Academic Article uri icon


  • Research on the psychological status of children who are refugees from war has led to varying results. Children from war conditions or who have been subject to evacuation have been shown to have relatively low levels of disturbed behaviour, have internalising symptoms of anxiety or depression, display behaviour with aggressive features, and suffer slight psychological disturbance, depending on their caretakers' response to the stressful experience. Based on the contrasting evidence and observations within an inner Melbourne Muslim school, this study aimed to determine whether more behaviour problems existed in Muslim children from Lebanese families. Compared with other war refugee Muslim immigrant children, Lebanese children were not found to be more aggressive, but were more anxious. Lebanese males displayed more inattentive behaviour at school than non-Lebanese males. Sex differences were found in adaptive functioning within Lebanese and non-Lebanese groups. Differences in school performance and adaptive functioning were found between Lebanese and normative samples when males and females were analysed separately. These results are discussed in the context of teacher expectations and perceptions of culturally acceptable behaviour.

publication date

  • March 1994