ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (2): 182-198.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00182

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The status quo and characteristics of Chinese mental health literacy

JIANG Guangrong1, LI Danyang1, REN Zhihong1(), YAN Yupeng1, WU Xinchun2, ZHU Xu1, YU Lixia3, XIA Mian1, LI Fenglan4, WEI Hui1,5, ZHANG Yan1,6, ZHAO Chunxiao1, ZHANG Lin1   

  1. 1 School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Human Development and Mental Health of Hubei Province, Wuhan, 430079, China
    2 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
    3 Mental Health Education Center, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, 430079, China
    4 College of Marxism, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, 430070, China
    5 Department of Education, Jianghan University, Wuhan 430056, China
    6 Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100732, China
  • Received:2020-05-21 Published:2021-02-25 Online:2020-12-29
  • Contact: REN Zhihong
  • Supported by:
    National Social Science Fund Major Bidding Project(16ZDA232)


A systematic nationwide sampling survey was conducted for the purpose of understanding the mental health literacy of the Chinese adults. The results indicated that the mental health literacy levels among adults in different cities were low to moderate. The influences of the demographic variables (e.g., geographical distribution, gender, and age) on mental health literacy were small but significant. Regarding the structure of mental health literacy, mental health maintenance and promotion literacy was better than mental illness coping literacy, and self-help literacy was better than helping others literacy. The survey found that the knowledge had relatively high individual differences, whereas attitudes and behaviors had relatively low individual differences, concerning the contents of the mental health literacy. In addition, among the social influencing factors of mental health literacy, the socio-economic status was the most effective one, which showed a large effect size in the knowledge and a small to medium effect size in the attitudes and behavior tendency. These findings implicate that improving mental health literacy is an arduous task, and improving the literacy of coping with mental illness should be the focus and breakthrough point of the current practice of mental health literacy promotion.

Key words: mental health literacy, prevalence survey, group difference