Effects of separation age and separation duration among left-behind children in China

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Hui Ling
En Fu
Jian-ren Zhang
Cite this article:  Ling, H., Fu, E., & Zhang, J. (2015). Effects of separation age and separation duration among left-behind children in China. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 43(2), 241-254.


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Left-behind children (LBC) are those who continue to live in their hometown after one or both parents have left for occupational opportunities elsewhere. In this study, we examined the relationship between the age of the children at separation from parents (age), the duration of separation (time), and the behavioral and emotional status of the children. Participants (268 LBC and 228 non-LBC) in China completed the Youth Self Report (YSR), Depression Self-rating Scale for Children, and Children’s Loneliness Scale. The results showed that LBC scored higher than the non-LBC on loneliness, behavior problems, and several YSR subscales. There was no main effect of age and time on loneliness or behavior problems, but there was an interaction effect of age and time on several YSR subscales. Our findings extend those of existing studies on the effects of parent-child separation in the LBC scenario.

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