The present situation and prospects of the studies on Chinese left-at-home rural countryside children
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Since early 1980s, China has undergone the course of Opening Policy and social transformation. Due to the fast economic growth in urban cities, a great number of peasant workforce have migrated to towns and cities, or even foreign countries to look for urban jobs. As most of these peasant workers are unable to migrate with their child, consequently, their children became so-called “left-at-home” rural countryside children. In the beginning, little attention has been paid to this special group by the society. However, today the population of “left-at-home” rural countryside children has already exceeded a number of 20 million, and their educational and psychological developmental problems turned out to be remarkable. In 2002, Chinese government has begun to fully recognize the severity of this social problem, while in 2004, more close attention has been paid both from Chinese government and academia. At present, plenty of surveys and studies have been made. Generally, these research could be classified into 4 groups: current situational surveys; quantitative studies on psychological health of left-at-home children, their personality and self-esteem, parenting styles and family function, their social support system and problem behaviors; a small quantity of qualitative studies on the process of how these left-at-home children adapt their daily life; and limited studies on developing questionnaires. During these years, many surveys and studies focusing on left-at-home children have been done, however, the findings have not been well organized and classified. Therefore, in this article the author has first discussed the accurate definition of “left-at-home” rural countryside children. Secondly, the findings of former surveys and studies are summarized, and their insufficiency discussed. Finally, the author has prospected the future studies on Chinese “left-at-home” rural countryside children.