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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2018

Depressive symptoms and associated factors among left-behind children in China: a cross-sectional study

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
Meijuan Tan, Mengshi Chen, Jing Li, Xinyun He, Zhiyong Jiang, Hongzhuan Tan, Xin Huang
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12889-018-5963-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



To investigate the prevalence of depressive symptoms among left-behind children (LBC) in junior and senior secondary schools and examine the significant predictors of depressive symptoms, which might provide practical intervention measures for the schools.


By using stratified random sampling, 1076 (LBC) in junior and senior secondary schools were investigated in the study. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the depression self-rating scale (SDS). SDS raw scores 40 or higher were categorised as depressive symptoms.


The total prevalence of depressive symptoms was 54.74% for LBC in junior and senior secondary schools, with 73.08% for grade 12 students. The multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that grades, family income, parental relationship, parent-child relationship and teacher-student relationship were significantly associated with depressive symptoms.


Depressive symptoms are acommon health problem among LBC in junior and senior secondary schools, and LBC in grade 12 may be at high risk of depressive symptoms. The parents, teachers and schools should pay more attention to LBC, particularly those in grade 12, and provide prevention and early intervention programs such as individual counsel service to prevent depressive symptoms.
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