Comparing the mental health of rural-to-urban migrant children and their counterparts in china: Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

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In recent years, the issue of migrant children with peasant parents working in cities has attracted widespread attention in recent years because of the sheer number and the benefits bundled in China's household. The focus has gradually extended from early education opportunities to all aspects of physical and mental development, especially the social adaptation and mental health of migrant children. The negative impact of environment changes on migrant children’ mental health is very worrying for parents and the society. Some studies have found that immigrant children's mental health is significantly lower than their peers, but there are also studies that hold the opposite view. Thus, the mental health status of migrant children is still a controversial issue, which may have a certain relationship with the potential differences in the specific problems of mental health, regions, comparison objects, and researchers. The objective of this protocol is to investigate whether mental health and subdimensions differ between rural-to-urban migrant children and their counterparts living in China and examine study characteristics that might result in differences among studies.


We will search PubMed, Embase, OVID, ERIC, Web of Science, and Chinese databases including CNKI, Chongqing VIP, and Wan Fang data from start to April 2018. Cross-sectional studies with a comparison of migrant children and their counterparts will be included. The primary outcome will be the mean and standard deviation of mental health and its sub-dimensions. Standardized mean difference is used as the main effect value. Subgroup analyses will be carried out by the location of studies and school type of. Sensitivity analyses will be conducted to assess the robustness of the findings. Analyses will be performed with RevMan and Stata software.


This systematic review and meta-analysis will compare the mental health status of rural-to-urban migrant children and their counterparts living in China.


The results of this systematic and meta-analysis will be helpful to get a more reliable understanding of the mental health of rural-to-urban migrant children and the reasons for the controversy on this issue.

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