Selective mutism in immigrant families: An ecocultural perspective

Ortal Slobodin, Maayan Shorer, Gilor Friedman-Zeltzer, Silvana Fennig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although the diagnosis of selective mutism (SM) is more prevalent among immigrant children, the link between the disorder and an immigration background has been elusive. Guided by ecocultural models of development, the current study aimed to construct a theory-based description of SM while considering individual, family, and contextual risk factors. Participants were 78 children with SM (38.4% with an immigration background), and 247 typically developed children (18.2% with an immigration background). Consistent with previous studies, our results suggest that anxiety was the most important predictor of SM symptoms, above and beyond immigration background. Immigration, especially if coupled with bilingual status and low family income, predicted increased levels of SM symptoms. Identifying multi-level predictors of SM may help researchers and clinicians to improve early identification and treatment of SM in culturally and linguistically diverse children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2023


  • bilingualism
  • ecocultural perspective
  • immigrant children
  • selective mutism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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