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Keywords:

  • children;
  • depressive symptoms;
  • income disparity;
  • poverty;
  • quality of life;
  • self-esteem

Abstract

Objective

This study explored the impact of poverty and income disparity on the psychological well-being of Hong Kong Chinese children.

Design and Sample

A cross-sectional study was conducted in 12 elementary schools from the three highest and three lowest median household income districts. A total of 1,725 pupils were recruited with 898 pupils came from low-income and 827 from high-income families.

Measures

Participants were asked to respond to the Chinese version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for Children, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. The data were collected from 2012 to 2013.

Results

Children from low-income families reported statistically significant lower scores in self-esteem and quality of life, but higher scores in depressive symptoms than those from high-income families. Income disparity had their greatest impact on children's self-esteem.

Conclusion

This study has addressed a gap in the literature by comparing the self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and quality of life among children living in low- and high-income families. The results add further evidence to the literature that poverty and income disparity may have a negative impact on the psychological well-being of children.