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Rethink Left-Behind Experience: New Categories and Its Relationship with Aggression

Chunyang Zhang1, Yijun Lin1, Yuyang Zhou2, Wei Xu1,3,*

1 Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Psychology Education (Beijing Normal University), Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China
2 College of Business, Florida International University, Miami, 33199, USA
3 School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, 210097, China

* Corresponding Author: Wei Xu. Email: email

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2021, 23(4), 443-454.


Left-behind experience refers to the experience of children staying behind in their hometown under the care of only one parent or their relatives while one or both of their parents leave to work in other places. College students with left-behind experience showed higher aggression levels. To further explore the relationship between left-behind experience and aggression, the current study categorized left-behind experience using latent class analysis and explored its relationship with aggression. One thousand twenty-eight Chinese college students with left-behind experience were recruited, and their aggression levels were assessed. The results showed that there were four categories of left-behind experience: “starting from preschool, frequent contact” (35.5%), “less than 10 years in duration, limited contact” (27.0%), “starting from preschool, over 10 years in duration, limited contact” (10.9%), and “starting from school age, frequent contact” (26.6%). Overall, college students who reported frequent contact with their parents during the left-behind period showed lower levels of aggression than others did. Females were less aggressive than males in the “starting from preschool, frequent contact” left-behind situation, while males were less aggressive than females in the “starting from school age, frequent contact” situation. These findings indicate that frequent contact with leaving parents contributes to decreasing aggression of college students with left-behind experience. Meanwhile, gender is an important factor in this relationship.


Cite This Article

Zhang, C., Lin, Y., Zhou, Y., Xu, W. (2021). Rethink Left-Behind Experience: New Categories and Its Relationship with Aggression. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 23(4), 443–454.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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