Gender Differences in Depressive Traits among Rural and Urban Chinese Adolescent Students: Secondary Data Analysis of Nationwide Survey CFPS


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CHEN Weilong HUANG Yi RIAD Abanoub

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web article - open access
Keywords Depressive Traits; Chinese Adolescent Students; Gender Differences
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Description Many previous studies have indicated that urban adolescents show a higher level of mental health in China compared to rural adolescents. Specifically, girls in rural areas represented a high-risk group prior to the 21st century, demonstrating more suicidal behaviour and ideation than those in the urban areas because of the severe gender inequality in rural China. However, because of the urbanisation process and centralised policy to eliminate gender inequality in recent decades, the regional and gender differences in mental health might decrease. This research aimed to probe the gender and regional differences in depressive traits among adolescent students currently in China. We adopted the national survey dataset Chinese Family Panel Studies (CFPS) conducted in 2018. Accordingly, 2173 observations from 10–15-year-old subjects were included. CFPS utilised an eight-item questionnaire to screen individuals’ depressive traits. Two dimensions of depressive traits were confirmed by CFA, namely depressed affect and anhedonia. The measurement invariance tests suggested that the two-factor model was applicable for both males and females and rural and urban students. Based on the extracted values from the CFA model, MANOVA results revealed that, compared to boys, girls experienced more depressed affect. Moreover, rural students demonstrated more anhedonia symptoms. There was no interaction between gender and region. The results suggest that, even though the gender and regional differences are small, being a female and coming from a rural area are still potential risk factors for developing depressive traits among adolescent students in China.
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