International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 691–698

Migration and depressive symptoms in migrant-sending areas: findings from the survey of internal migration and health in China

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00038-011-0314-0

Cite this article as:
Lu, Y., Hu, P. & Treiman, D.J. Int J Public Health (2012) 57: 691. doi:10.1007/s00038-011-0314-0

Abstract

Objectives

China has experienced large-scale internal migration and growing mental health disorders. Limited research has examined the relationship between the two processes. We examined the association between labor out-migration and depressive symptoms of family members left behind in migrant-sending areas.

Methods

We conducted a multistage probability sample survey of Chinese adults in 2008 (“Internal Migration and Health in China”), including 787 people in rural migrant-sending areas. To study whether adults in out-migrant households were more likely to experience depressive symptoms (CES-D) than were adults in non-migrant households, we used multivariate regressions and adjusted for a wide range of confounding factors and for the complex sampling design.

Results

Adults in households with labor out-migrants were more likely to report depressive symptoms than those in households without out-migrants, presumably a result of the absence of family members. However, monetary remittances from labor migrants buffered the mental health costs of out-migration.

Conclusions

Labor out-migration has important consequences for the mental health in migrant-sending communities. There is an urgent need to address the psychological costs of migration and to promote regular remittances.

Keywords

Depression Mental health Migration Internal migration Sending areas China 

Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.UCLALos AngelesUSA

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