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Table 1 Demographic and left-behind-related characteristics of the sample (N = 6227)

From: Depressive symptoms and negative life events: What psycho-social factors protect or harm left-behind children in China?

Variables NLBC LBC  
n(%) LBCF LBCM LBCB k-w χ 2b
n(%) n(%) n(%)
Total 2046(32.8) 1000(16.1) 202(3.2) 2979(47.9)  
Gender      4.68
 Male 1105(54.0) 533(53.3) 96(47.5) 1543(51.8)  
 Female 941(46.0) 467(46.7) 106(52.5) 1436(48.2)  
Age (year)      67.35***
 7–9 364(17.8) 199(19.9) 46(22.8) 379(12.7)  
 10–12 700(34.2) 349(34.9) 63(31.2) 870(29.2)  
 13–15 532(26.0) 307(30.7) 50(24.8) 1104(37.1)  
 16–17 450(22.0) 145(14.5) 43(21.2) 626(21.0)  
Ethnicity      15.58***
 Hana 1782(87.1) 851(85.1) 162(80.2) 2488(83.5)  
 Minority 264(12.0) 149(14.9) 40(19.8) 491(16.5)  
Home place      198.73***
 Small town 510(24.9) 147(14.7) 31(15.3) 303(10.2)  
 Countryside 1536(75.1) 853(85.3) 171(84.7) 2676(89.8)  
Parental marriage status      37.45***
 Married 1869(91.3) 899(89.9) 158(78.2) 2636(88.5)  
 Divorced 177(8.7) 101(10.1) 44(21.8) 343(11.5)  
Only child in family 487(23.8) 182(18.2) 54(26.7) 551(18.5) 29.13***
Boarding schools 656(32.1) 371(37.1) 78(38.6) 1644(55.2) 290.42***
Family income (yuan)c      48.58***
 Less than 2300 400(19.6) 256(25.6) 50(24.8) 764(25.6)  
 2300–5000 671(32.8) 353(35.3) 62(30.7) 1035(34.7)  
 5000–10,000 511(25.0) 217(21.7) 51(25.2) 672(22.6)  
 Over 10,000 464(22.7) 174(17.4) 39(19.3) 508(17.1)  
Age at separation (year)     110.36***
 0–5 422(42.2) 93(46.0) 1820(61.1)  
 6–12 511(51.1) 94(46.5) 1013(34.0)  
 13–17 67(6.7) 15(7.4) 146(4.9)  
Duration of separation     2.15
 6 months - 2 years 645(64.5) 88(43.6) 1220(41.0)  
 2–3 years 135(13.5) 46(22.8) 515(17.3)  
 4–5 years 69(6.9) 25(12.4) 374(12.6)  
 Over 6 years 151(15.1) 43(21.3) 870(29.2)  
Usual residence (multiple response)     
 Father 0(0.0) 79(39.1) 0(0.0) 235.87***
 Mother 727(72.7) 0(0.0) 0(0.0) 1388.11***
 Grandparents 381(38.1) 120(59.4) 2297(77.1) 520.00***
 Siblings 144(14.4) 17(8.4) 418(14.0) 5.34
 Other relatives 105(10.5) 24(11.9) 469(15.7) 17.81***
 Neighbors 32(3.2) 28(13.9) 75(2.5) 2.47
 Alone 71(7.1) 17(8.4) 300(10.1) 8.04*
Comd. frequency     5.17
 Daily 144(14.4) 25(12.4) 246(8.3)  
 Weekly 519(51.9) 109(54.0) 1734(58.2)  
 Monthly 188(18.8) 43(21.3) 551(18.5)  
 Half a year 92(9.2) 13(6.4) 248(8.3)  
 Over half a year 57(5.7) 12(5.9) 200(6.7)  
Com. duration     71.84***
 Within 5 min 308(30.8) 54(26.7) 586(19.7)  
 5–10 min 332(33.2) 48(23.8) 813(27.3)  
 10–30 min 251(25.1) 85(42.1) 1262(42.4)  
 Over 30 min 109(10.9) 15(7.4) 318(10.7)  
Com. by telephone 945(94.5) 188(93.1) 2834(95.1) 2.05
Com. by message 67(6.7) 14(6.9) 175(5.9) 1.13
Com. by visiting 33(3.3) 19(9.4) 79(2.7) 28.55***
Com. on academic performance 575(57.5) 103(51.0) 1667(56.0) 2.96
Com. on school life 248(24.8) 56(27.7) 860(28.9) 6.17*
Com. on life difficulty 124(12.4) 28(13.9) 520(17.5) 14.95***
Com. on learning difficulty 108(10.8) 28(13.9) 421(14.1) 7.25*
Com. on migrant parental life 225(22.5) 40(19.8) 547(18.4) 32.43***
Com. on children’s feelings 299(29.9) 89(44.1) 881(29.6) 18.90***
  1. Note: NLBC non-left-behind children, LBC left-behind children, LBCF children left behind by father, LBCM children left behind by mother, LBCB children left behind by both parents
  2. * p < 0.05, *** p < 0.001
  3. aHan is an ethnic group consisting of the largest population in China
  4. b k-wxχ 2 value was from the chi-square test
  5. cYuan is a Chinese currency unit
  6. dCom. = communication between migrant parents and left-behind children