Poverty, Perceived Economic Stress and Self-Esteem among Children from Impoverished Areas in China

Huan He, Johns Hopkins University
Zhiyong Qu, Beijing Normal University
Xiaohua Wang, Beijing Normal University
Xiulan Zhang, Beijing Normal University

Given children’s dependence on families, the effect of poverty on child development and wellbeing is often explained by “family process models”, such as family stress or the family investment (for reviews Dearing, 2008). As a consequence, children’s economic resources and their agency are understudied in child poverty research, especially in terms of their potential influences on child psychosocial adjustment. The present study explores relationships among objective and subjective poverty indicators reported from both parents and children (family: annual income percentile, subjective poverty index; child: pocket money, perceived economic stress), and their associations with child self-esteem, using an adolescent (age 12-16) sample (N=601) from impoverished areas of China. The results of analyses using Structural Equation Models support the idea of a “child stress pathway”, in which the amount of weekly pocket money and child’s perceived economic stress mediate the relationship between family income and child self-esteem.

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Presented in Poster Session 2