Urbanization, self-harm, and suicidal ideation in left-behind children and adolescents in China: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Kelly Lin, Sandra Ramos, Jing Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose of review
Economic development and urbanisation have prompted many Chinese parents to move from rural to urban regions for better job opportunities. Their children, who remain behind in rural regions, become leftbehind children (LBC). With absent parents, children and adolescents are unable to maintain the secure attachment required for healthy social and emotional development, increasing the risk of mental illness.
This study aimed to compare risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation in LBC and non-LBC in China.
Recent findings
Greater risks for poor mental health outcomes including worse depression, loneliness and anxiety have been identified in LBC in cross-sectional studies. Previous studies have also identified higher prevalence of bullying victimization, poorer school performance and worse school attendance amongst LBC.
Summary
Findings indicate that prolonged separation from parents put LBC at greater risks of poor mental health. Policy changes to allow children to migrate with their parents and policies to reduce inequalities in job opportunities between urban and rural regions are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000927
Pages (from-to)225-236
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Volume37
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2024

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