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Open AccessArticle

Community-Based Intervention to Improve the Well-Being of Children Left Behind by Migrant Parents in Rural China

1
Department of Social Medicine, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310058, China
2
Centre for Global Health, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310058, China
3
UCL Institute for Global Health, 30 Guilford Str., London WC1N1EH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7218; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197218
Received: 17 August 2020 / Revised: 21 September 2020 / Accepted: 24 September 2020 / Published: 2 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Health and Wellbeing of Migrant Populations)
In rural China around 60 million left-behind children (LBC) experience prolonged separation from migrant worker parents. They are vulnerable to a range of psychosocial problems. The aim of this study was to determine whether a community-based intervention consisting of Children’s Centres can improve psychosocial well-being and school performance of these children. The intervention was carried out in 20 villages, for children aged 7 to 15 years, irrespective of left-behind status. Nine hundred and twenty children, 438 LBC and 256 children living with parents (RC) attended the Centres. At follow-up after one year, there were improvements compared to baseline in total difficulties (measured with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) in children left behind by both parents (p = 0.009), children left behind by one parent (p = 0.008) and RC (p = 0.05). Postintervention school performance significantly improved in both categories of LBC (p < 0.001), but not RC (p = 0.07); social support score increased in both categories of LBC (p < 0.001) and RC (p = 0.01). Findings from interviews with key stakeholders were overwhelmingly positive about the impacts. With strong local leadership and community motivation, a low-cost intervention can improve children’s psychosocial well-being in these settings. Allowing communities to adapt the model to their own situation fosters local ownership, commitment, with benefits for children, parents, carers, and communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: community-based intervention; left-behind children; rural children; China; psychosocial well-being; school performance; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ); internalizing problems; externalizing problems community-based intervention; left-behind children; rural children; China; psychosocial well-being; school performance; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ); internalizing problems; externalizing problems
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jiang, M.; Li, L.; Zhu, W.X.; Hesketh, T. Community-Based Intervention to Improve the Well-Being of Children Left Behind by Migrant Parents in Rural China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7218. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197218

AMA Style

Jiang M, Li L, Zhu WX, Hesketh T. Community-Based Intervention to Improve the Well-Being of Children Left Behind by Migrant Parents in Rural China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(19):7218. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197218

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jiang, Minmin; Li, Lu; Zhu, Wei X.; Hesketh, Therese. 2020. "Community-Based Intervention to Improve the Well-Being of Children Left Behind by Migrant Parents in Rural China" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 19: 7218. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197218

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