chapter  5
8 Pages

Psychological and social well-being

WithLijun Chen, Qiang Ren, Dali L. Yang, Di Zhou

This chapter describes and analyzes the psychological well-being and social well-being of children and adolescents based on their self-reports in the CFPS. Psychological well-being and social well-being are two separate, but related, developmental domains. For psychological well-being, we examine psychological distress, feelings of happiness, confidence in the future, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. For social well-being, we look at the children’s self-evaluated inter-personal relations and their social skills. We undertake our analyses with special attention to rural-urban disparities, gender differences, and variance based on different types of family living arrangements. The results demonstrate significant variations between rural and urban children in their social and emotional well-being. In particular, rural boys have clear social and emotional deficits compared to urban girls. We find that there is consistent evidence for the psychological toll of parental absence on children due to internal migration, marital dissolution, or death. Children in single-parent families or children left behind by both parents are especially vulnerable to social and emotional challenges.