Background: In Germany, many recently arrived and minority families live in multi-ethnic, high-poverty districts. Multiple risk factors threaten their children s development. Aims: We examined the socio-emotional problems of these children in relation to their academic learning skills and executive functioning. Method: We compared teacher-rated socio-emotional problems of n = 112 Roma children (90% foreign-born), n = 101 refugee children (all foreign-born), and n = 56 German-born immigrant children (age in months: M = 99.66, SD = 13.61) between groups and to norm data. We related socio-emotional problems to receptive vocabulary, cognitive reasoning, motor skills, and executive functioning in n = 83 refugee and Roma children. Results: Roma children showed higher rates above cut-off than norm data in all subscales, more problems in all subscales but emotional symptoms than immigrant children, and more hyperactivity/inattention and peer problems than refugee children. Refugee children showed higher rates above cut-off than norm data in all subscales and more peer problems than immigrant children. Academic learning skills were overall below average among recently arrived children. Prosocial behavior was positively linked to fine motor skills. Other socio-emotional problems were not linked to academic learning skills and executive functioning. Gross and visuo-motor skills correlated positively with other academic learning skills. Limitations: We analyzed cross-sectional data. We did not include risk factors or non-immigrant German children. Conclusion: The heightened socio-emotional problems and low academic learning skills of refugee and particularly Roma children in high-poverty districts could jeopardize their educational trajectories. Additional support measures could increase their chances for educational participation.

DOI: 10.1027/2512-8442/a000096
ISSN: 2512-8442