Does Early Maternal Separation Exert a Negative Influence on Student’s Depression & Dysfunctional Attitude?

Research Paper Title

The impacts of maternal separation experience and its pattern on depression and dysfunctional attitude in middle school students in rural China.

Background

In China, because of the growth of economically driven rural-to-urban migration, there are lots of children in rural area who are separating or have separation experience with their parents.

Until now, few studies focused on solely maternal separation and no research studied whether its pattern will affect children’s later psychological status.

The aim of this study was to determine whether early or late maternal separation affects depression and dysfunctional attitude in middle school students and what is the role of cumulative duration and meeting frequency.

Methods

Maternal separation experience was obtained by using questionnaires. The researchers got early maternal separation group first. Then, late maternal separation and control group were obtained with the same number by matching grade, sex and family socioeconomic status.

All the students in the three groups completed the scales of Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) and Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS).

Results

Both CDI and DAS scores of early separation group are higher than the other two groups.

  • When the researches split the data by sex, only females presented the same results.
  • When cumulative duration is short, there is significant difference in both scores of CDI and DAS among the three groups, which showed the scores of early separation group are higher than the other two groups.
  • When the cumulative duration is long, there is no significant difference among the three groups.
  • When meeting frequency is high, there is no significant difference among the three groups.
  • When it is low, there is significant difference among the three groups, which showed the CDI and DAS scores of early separation group are higher than the other two groups.

Furthermore, the same results are also found in females.

Conclusions

Early maternal separation may exert negative influence on student’s depression and dysfunctional attitude.

The sex, cumulative duration and meeting frequency may also play important roles in the effect.

Reference

Cao, X.J., Huang, Y.X., Zhu, P. & Zhang, Z.G. (2020) The impacts of maternal separation experience and its pattern on depression and dysfunctional attitude in middle school students in rural China. The International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 66(2), pp.188-197. doi: 10.1177/0020764019895795. Epub 2020 Jan 2.

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