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Self-concept and mental health status of ‘stay-at-home’ children in rural China


Hong Su, Epidemiology and Biostatistics School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, China.
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Aim:  To describe the self-concept and mental health status of ‘stay-at-home’ children and to explore the differences between stay-at-home children and non-stay-at-home children.

Methods:  A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Changfeng County to collect information on self-concept and mental health status. Children were classified as ‘stay-at-home’ or ‘non-stay-at-home’ for data analysis.

Results:  Stay-at-home children accounted for 55.1% of children. The two groups of children differed significantly on the total scores of self-concept (stay-at-home, 52.48 ± 14.29; non-stay-at-home, 55.24 ± 15.10). The mental health status of stay-at-home children was poor, with significant difference between them (stay-at-home, 41.17 ± 12.25; non-stay-at-home, 40.14 ± 13.11). Using multivariate linear regression analysis, we found that the total P-H score, gender, low family economic status, stay-at-home status and being cared for by an uncle/aunt or an older sibling were independent variables for mental health of the children.

Conclusion:  This study suggests that stay-at-home children have a greater risk of mental health problems than their counterparts in rural Anhui province, China. In addition, this study provides useful baseline information on childhood mental health and has identified important risk factors that would be important in planning strategies for prevention of mental health problems for stay-at-home children.