A comparison of female migrant workers’ mental health in four cities in China: International Journal of Social Psychiatry

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Abstract

Background:There are approximately 47.5 million female migrant workers living in major cities in China. Numerous studies have documented the marginalized living conditions confronting migrant workers in cities, such as employment difficulties, unjustifiably demanding working conditions, lack of medical insurance and social provision, poor housing conditions, unfavourable educational arrangements for migrant children, and discrimination by urban residents. In addition, female migrant workers may suffer from discrimination, exploitation and oppression.Aim:This study aimed to explore the difficulties and perceived meaningfulness of migration and their effect on the mental health status of female migrant workers in Shanghai, Kunshan, Dongguan and Shenzhen.Methods:A total of 959 female migrant workers from 12 factories completed the questionnaires, which included the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Migration Stress Scale and the Meaning in Migration Scale.Results:The findings indicate that 24% of female migrant workers could be classified as having poor mental health and the percentage in Shenzhen (35%) was far greater than in the three other cities in China. ?Financial and employment-related difficulties?, ?cultural differences?, gender-specific stressors and ?better future for self and children? significantly accounted for the mental health outcomes of female migrant workers.Conclusion:Recommendations for policy change and service initiatives targeted at improving the mental health of female migrant workers are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-122
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

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