The effect of migration and the hukou registration system on psychosocial domains and family functioning of children in Shanghai, China.Int Health. 2019 10 31; 11(S1):S24-S32.IH
According to the 2017 China National Education Development Statistics Bulletin, there were 14.07 million rural-urban migrant children in the compulsory education stage. The mental health of migrant children in China has drawn increasing attention in research. The objective of this study was to compare subjective well-being, self-esteem, prosocial behaviour and family functioning of migrant children vs local children in Shanghai and to explore their relationship.
A survey was conducted among 2229 students (9-17 y of age; male 52.0%, female 48.0%) and their parents from grades 4 to 8 in four primary schools and four middle schools in Shanghai in 2016. The sample consisted of 1333 migrant children and 896 urban children in three migrant schools and five public schools. A total of 959 rural-urban migrant children and 374 urban hukou migrant children were recruited. The questionnaire for students included the Personal Well-Being Index - School Children (PWI-SC), Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), Positive and Negative Affect Scale for Children, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Family APGAR Index and prosocial behaviour domain of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. In the questionnaire for parents, the Personal Well-Being Index and Social Support Rating Scale were used in addition to the sociodemographic characteristics. These data were analysed using one-way analysis of variance, correlation analysis and multiple linear regression.
Rural-urban migrant children reported significantly lower PWI-SC, SWLS, positive affect, prosocial behaviour, self-esteem and Family APGAR Index scores and reported higher negative affect scores than local children (p<0.01). The prevalence rate of abnormal prosocial behaviour among rural-urban migrant children was 10%, which was higher than that of local children (5.9%; p<0.001). Compared with rural-urban migrant children in public schools, the SWLS, prosocial behaviour and Family APGAR Index scores of the children in migrant schools were higher and the prevalence rate of abnormal prosocial behaviour was lower (p<0.01). Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that the self-esteem and Family APGAR Index had predictive effects on subjective well-being and prosocial behaviour scores of rural-urban migrant children.
Rural-urban migrant children are susceptible to mental health problems. Additional public policy and interventions by practitioners are needed to support rural-urban migrant children.