Sociodemographic Correlates of Behavioral Problems Among Rural Chinese Schoolchildren


Jianghong Liu, University of Pennsylvania, 418 Curie Blvd., Room 426, Claire M. Fagin Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4217. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Objective: To investigate the problem behaviors of children from grades 4–6 and associated factors in the rural Hunan province of China.

Design and Sample: Randomized cluster sampling in 3 rural areas of the Hunan province was used. 435 subjects were randomly selected from grades 4–6.

Measures: A researcher-designed questionnaire was used to find influential demographic, parental, and socioeconomic factors. The prediction test of problem children (PPCT) was used to assess problem behaviors.

Results: The prevalence of the early child problem behaviors in our sample was 17.44%. Associated factors include gender, willingness to attend school, parents' expectations of the children's educational degree, parents working outside the home (left-behind children), and children's feeling of their parents' understanding of them.

Conclusions: The prevalence of children with problem behaviors was higher in rural areas in Hunan than in China as a whole. This may be partly explained by the fact that parents must often work in the cities and leave their children behind at home, increasing the chances that those children develop behavioral problems. This phenomenon also applies in other developing countries, making it a public health concern. Therefore, there is a need to prevent problem behaviors through collaboration among families, schools, and society.