Child Maltreatment and Suicide Ideation in Rural China: The Roles of Self-compassion and School Belonging

Abstract

Child maltreatment as a significant risk factor for suicide behavior is one of major challenges faced by the child welfare system in China. However, few studies have focused on child maltreatment of rural Chinese children. Furthermore, research has not examined the protective factors between the linkage of child maltreatment and suicide ideation. This study aimed to fill the research gap by investigating the mediating role of self-compassion and the moderating role of school belonging in the association between child maltreatment and suicidal ideation. We used convenience sampling strategy to collect data from four schools and 31 classes in rural area in Hunan, China in 2018. Participants included 1167 students in grades seven through nine. SPSS macro PROCESS was used to examine the mediating effect of self-compassion and moderating effect of school belonging in the association between child maltreatment and suicide ideation. The findings indicated that rural children reported a higher level of child maltreatment history than their urban counterparts. Emotional abuse, emotional and physical neglect were all positively associated with suicide ideation through decreased self-compassion. In addition, school belonging could moderate the direct relations between emotional abuse and suicide ideation. The findings suggested that it is of great importance to include self-compassion and school belonging into mental health intervention programs for rural adolescents with child maltreatment experiences. Programs that teach students self-compassion and resources that help adolescents develop a sense of school belonging and inclusion should be provided in schools in rural China.

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Zhang, H., Liu, M. & Long, H. Child Maltreatment and Suicide Ideation in Rural China: The Roles of Self-compassion and School Belonging. Child Adolesc Soc Work J (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-020-00679-z

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Keywords

  • Child maltreatment
  • Suicide ideation
  • Rural Chinese children
  • Self-compassion
  • School belonging