Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 54, Issue 9, pp 1101–1109 | Cite as

The rural children’s loneliness and depression in Henan, China: the mediation effect of self-concept

  • Jihong XuEmail author
  • Ping Chen
Original Paper



This research explored the relationship among loneliness, depression and self-concept of rural children in China.


Seven hundred and twenty-four children (Mage = 9.15 years) from two rural primary schools were selected as respondents to participate in this study. Piers-Harris Children’s Self-concept Scale, Asher Loneliness Scale and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for Children were used.


Of the rural children surveyed, 14.50% and 10.22%, respectively, experienced strong loneliness and severe depression, and 28.52% had low self-concept. There was a significant positive relationship of moderate level between loneliness and depression, and significant negative relationships between total self-concept and depression, and between total self-concept and loneliness. Moreover, a partial mediation role of self-concept was found in the relationship between loneliness and depression.


Children’s loneliness was not only directly related to depression, but also was indirectly mediated by self-concept, which demonstrated a partial mediation role in the relationship between loneliness and depression.


Loneliness Depression Self-concept Mediation effect Rural children 



We would like to thank the study team members who generously shared their time and experience for this study. And we would also like to thank Dr. Ning Wang for her support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Mental Health and Behavior Big DataNational Research Institute for Family PlanningBeijingChina
  2. 2.Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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