Self-Esteem among “Left-Behind Children” of Labor Migrant Parents in Rural Northern Vietnam

Giang Thi Thanh Mai, Van Luot Nguyen, Harriot Beazley, Nguyen Ba Dat


To assess the self-esteem of left-behind children of migrant parents, this article presents the results of a survey on the self-esteem of 1,119 children aged from 9 to 15 (469 children of labor migrant parents, and a control group of 650 children of non-migrant parents) living in three rural areas of Northern Vietnam including Phu Tho, Bac Ninh, and Ha Nam provinces. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) has been used for this study. A comparison between the self-esteem scores of the left-behind children and the control group reveals that children with labor migrant parents have lower self-esteem than their counterparts living with their parents. The research found that differences in the self-esteem scores of left-behind children were related to a number of significant factors, including the duration of parental migration; whether mother or father or both worked away; places where the children live; the frequency of communication between parents and children; and the child’s satisfaction with their study. The research suggested that factors such as feelings of loneliness, the child’s satisfaction with their study, harmony with friends, and the frequency of migrant parents returning home are all significant predictors of self-esteem of left-behind children.

Received 9th May 2019; Revised 13th June 2019; Accepted 20th September 2019


Self-Esteem; Left-behind Children; Labor Migrant Parents.


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