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Acta Psychologica Sinica
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Perceived Discrimination and Subjective Well-being among Urban Migrant Children: The Effect of Mediator and Moderator
LIU Xia;ZHAO Jingxin;SHEN Jiliang
(1 Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China) (2 School of Psychology, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China)
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Abstract  According to the recent statistics by Chinese government, there are more than 43 million children who migrated with their parents from rural areas to cities, and the number still keeps growing (Floating population division of national population and family planning commission, 2010). Existing literature suggests that perceived discrimination is a critical factor in the adaptation of migrant children to the city and school life, and that many migrant children had experienced some form of discrimination. For more than half a century, psychologists have examined discrimination primarily from the perspective of the members of dominant social groups. Recently, attention has turned to how potential targets of discrimination construe their predicaments and the effect of perceived discrimination on psychological adaptation. The majority of research has found that perceived discrimination has negative effect on well-being. Other lines of research conducted within a feedback-oriented paradigm have suggested that perceived discrimination has indirect positive effect on well-being. In order to providing a deeper understanding of the complexity of perceived discrimination, the rejection-identification model (RIM) was proposed as a theoretical framework to specify both positive and negative consequences of perceived discrimination. While the RIM has provided new insights and elucidated several key pathways in the formation of subjective well-being, it still needs to be improved with incorporating current theory. Based on the refinement of the RIM, this study aimed to explore the mediating effects of in-group identity and perceived group status on the relationship between perceived discrimination and subjective well-being, and to examine the moderating role of belonging need on the mediating effects. Totally, 1551 migrant children from public schools and migrant children schools in Beijing volunteered to participate in this study. Data of demographic information (i.e., gender, grade, and school type), perceived discrimination, in-group identity (i.e., cognitive identity and emotional identity), perceived in-group status, belonging need, personal and collective subjective well-being were collected through a set of self-administrated questionnaires. The results indicated that the migrant children in public primary schools had higher scores on personal and collective subjective well-being than did those in public middle schools and migrant children schools; compared with girls, boys had higher scores on life satisfaction and lower scores on collective well-being. Perceived discrimination had negative direct effects on the personal and collective subjective well-being of migrant children, and negative indirect effect on the collective subjective well-being via the mediating effects of in-group emotional identity and perceived in-group status. The effects of perceived discrimination on personal and collective subjective well-being differed across the levels of migrant children’s belonging need. For those with higher level of belonging need, perceived discrimination had negative direct effects on the personal subjective well-being, and negative indirect effect via the dual mediating effects of perceived in-group status and collective well-being; it also had negative indirect effects on the collective well-being via the complete mediating effect of perceived in-group status. For those with lower level of belonging need, perceived discrimination had both negative direct effects on the personal subjective well-being and positive indirect effects via the mediating effects of in-group emotional identity and perceived in-group status ; moreover, it had negative indirect effects on the collective subjective well-being via the complete mediating effects of in-group emotional identity and perceived in-group status. Overall, the present study showed that the mediating effects of in-group emotional identity and perceived in-group status on the relationship between perceived discrimination and subjective well-being was moderated by belonging need. And as a result, identifying the conditions of mediating mechanism is very important to fully understand the relationship between perceived discrimination and subjective well-being. We should consider the in-group emotional identity, perceived group status, and the level of belonging need in the prevention and intervention of migrant children’s perceived discrimination.
Keywords perceived discrimination      subjective well-being      in-group identity      perceived group status      belonging need      migrant children     
Corresponding Authors: ZHAO Jingxin   
Issue Date: 25 May 2013
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LIU Xia
ZHAO Jingxin
SHEN Jiliang
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LIU Xia,ZHAO Jingxin,SHEN Jiliang. Perceived Discrimination and Subjective Well-being among Urban Migrant Children: The Effect of Mediator and Moderator[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00568
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00568     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2013/V45/I5/568
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