Mental health of migrant workers in China: prevalence and correlates

Daniel Fu Keung Wong*, Xuesong He, Grace Leung, Ying Lau, Yingli Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study aimed to examine the prevalence and the socio-demographic correlates of mental health of migrant workers in Shanghai China.
Methods: A total of 475 migrant workers from four major districts in Shanghai were recruited through a survey design with stratified random sampling. Male and female migrant workers were identified as mentally healthy or unhealthy using the brief symptom inventory. Socio-demographic characteristics and migration stress were explored as correlates of the mental health of the migrant workers.
Results: A total of 73 migrant workers could be classified as mentally unhealthy (25% for men and 6% for women). Male migrant workers who were married (OR 6.16, 95% CI 1.83–20.70), manual laborers (OR 1.56, 95% CI 0.97–2.51), and experienced more stress in “financial and employment-related difficulties” (OR 2.75, 95% CI 1.47–5.14) and “interpersonal tensions and conflicts” (OR 4.18, 95% CI 1.55–11.25) were more likely to be mentally unhealthy, whereas the female migrant workers who experienced more stress in “interpersonal tensions and conflicts” (OR 6.52, 95% CI 0.83–51.14) were more likely to have poor mental health.
Conclusion: The findings provide information for the prevention of mental illness among migrant workers in China. The implications and limitations are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-489
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

User-Defined Keywords

  • mental health
  • migrant workers
  • migrant stress
  • China


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