New study looking at how immigrant children can cope with anxiety through art

·2 min read
PhD student Shadi Shabih Khani says she hopes her study leads children to find solutions to problems through art. (Getty Images - image credit)
PhD student Shadi Shabih Khani says she hopes her study leads children to find solutions to problems through art. (Getty Images - image credit)

New research conducted in P.E.I. will be looking at how the children of immigrant families can use art to better deal with anxiety.

UPEI psychology PhD student Shadi Shabih Khani is running a research project targeting the children of newcomers who've been in Canada for about a year. The study will dive into how creative activities can help them cope with anxiety, stress and self-esteem issues.

"Sometimes for immigrant populations talking about their challenges and difficulties through language, through English, is difficult," she said. "So there'll be this opportunity for children to use art in terms of expressing some of their concerns, some of their issues."

Shabih Khani said she was inspired to do this research based on the challenge she faced when she moved from Iran with her husband four years ago.

"When I first came to Canada, I experienced a little bit of cultural shock," she said. "Living with a second language was challenging, you know, and adjusting to this new culture and everything was new."

Finding solutions

She said she hopes the study leads children to develop a "toolbox" of sorts to handle future obstacles, helping them find solutions through art.

"We hope that by using arts and not depending on language, we can help preadolescent immigrants express their experience, their feelings, and find some ways to cope with their problems," she said.

Shabih Khani is looking for 12 children between the ages of 10 and 12. Research will be conducted after school hours.

She aims to begin the project later this month. Anyone interested in having their children take part can leave a message at 902-620-5096.

Shabih Khani said she'd like the study to help the community and educational system better suit the needs of international students in the future.

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