Prevalence of Mental Health Problems and Associated Risk Factors among Rural-to-Urban Migrant Children in Guangzhou, China.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 11 14; 14(11)IJ
Rural-to-urban migration, which has achieved a huge scale during China's economic reform, is a potential risk factor for the mental health of migrant children. To test this hypothesis, this study assessed the mental health status of rural-to-urban migrant children. Guided by Andersen's behavioral model, the study explored the risk factors associated with mental health. The study recruited 1182 fifth/sixth-grade children from four private and four public primary schools in Guangzhou in 2014 in a descriptive cross-sectional design. Mental health status was measured by the strengths and difficulties questionnaire. Predisposing characteristics including demographics (e.g., age, gender), social structure (e.g., education, occupation) and health beliefs (health attitude) were recorded. Enabling characteristics including family and community resources and the need for health services were analyzed to explore the risk factors. The results indicate that more rural-to-urban migrant children were classified in the abnormal (21.0%) or borderline (18.8%) categories based on the total difficulties scores, the proportions of which were much higher than those of local children (9.8% abnormal, 13.8% borderline). Factors associated with a greater likelihood of mental health problems included single-parent families, seeking health information actively, family income cannot meet basic needs and poor perceived health status. Compared with the local children, the rural-to-urban migrant children had relatively poor mental health, hence monitoring and supporting mental health for rural-urban migrant children is critical.