Sample. This study adopted a cross-sectional design. A sample of Chinese migrant children (N = 484; Mean age = 11.65 years; 52.9% girls) was recruited through multi-stage cluster random sampling in a city from Southwest China.
Measures. Structural-economic exclusion was measured by the Chinese version of the Bristol Deprivation Index, which included seven dimensions of deprivation: food, drinking water, shelter, education, healthcare facilities, sanitation facilities, and information. Socio-relational exclusion was operationalized into two indicators: a lack of social participation and relational exclusion, which were measured by the “Social Participation Scale” (Cronbach α = 0.767) and the “Exclusion Subscale” of the Ostracism Experience Scale (Cronbach α = 0.823), respectively. Physical well-being and psychological well-being were measured by Physical Well‐Being Subscale (Cronbach α =0.829) and Psychological Well‐Being Subscale (Cronbach α = 0.911) in Kidscreen‐52. Social well-being was measured by the Behavioral Adjustment Scale (Cronbach α =0.730), and Educational well-being was measured by the Academic Success Scale (Cronbach α= 0.796). Covariates included gender, age, hukou, parental educational level, occupational status, income level, and children's subjective social status.
Data Analysis. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was adopted to examine the hypothetical model using Mplus 8.0. The model fit indices included the chi-square, CFI, TLI, RMSEA, and SRMR. Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to test the measurement model. After that, the structural model was tested to validate the structural paths. The bootstrapping method was used to determine the indirect effect.
Results: Both the measurement model and the structural model indicated a good fit to the data. The results indicated that structural-economic exclusion exacerbated socio-relational exclusion, which in turn predicted a low level of well-being in migrant children. Socio-relational exclusion (a lack of social participation and relational exclusion) fully mediated the relationship between structural-economic exclusion (multi-dimensional deprivation) and children's physical, psychological, social, and educational well-being.
Conclusions and Implications: This study revealed the unique effects of different types of social exclusion on children’s well-being and contributed to the theoretical understanding of the dynamic process of social exclusion among migrant children. The present study also provided practical implications for policymakers and social workers to reduce social exclusion so as to improve the well-being of migrant children.