Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 112–119 | Cite as

The Role of Hopelessness in the Health of Low-Class Rural Chinese Residents

  • Huiping Zhang
  • Lei Wu
  • Mingming ChengEmail author
Original Paper


It is well known that health inequality has been happening between rural and urban Chinese populations, however, the health differences among rural Chinese residents remain unclear. This study aims to assess the physical and mental health of rural Chinese residents in different social classes, and then to examine the mediating role of hopelessness between social class and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). A stratified multi-stage sampling was used to recruit 2003 rural residents responding to the 12-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12). The results showed that lower-class rural Chinese residents reported lower physical and mental health as well as a higher level of hopelessness. Furthermore, hopelessness could fully mediate the association between social class and physical and mental health. These findings will generate significant implications for identifying those at particular risk for lower quality of life and designing social work intervention programs in rural China’s context.


Lower-class populations Physical and mental health Hopelessness Rural China 



The authors would like to acknowledge the members of the research committee of the “Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS)” research project, which is carried out by the National Survey Research Center at Renmin University of China. We appreciate the assistance in providing data by the institutes and individuals aforementioned. The views expressed herein are the authors’ own. This study has been supported by National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No.15BSH051).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no any conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study has been approved by the Ethics Committee of the National Survey Research Center at Renmin University of China

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Studies of Sociology Theory and MethodRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Social Work, School of Sociology and Political ScienceShanghai UniversityShanghaiChina

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