Data from the China 2000 census indicate that at least 88 million individuals have migrated from rural villages to urban areas for jobs or better lives without permanent urban residency. With funding support from NIMH (R01NIMH64878), we are currently conducting an HIV/STD qualitative and quantitative research project among young rural-to-urban migrants in two major Chinese metropolitan areas (Beijing and Nanjing). Although the ongoing project was not designed to study the stigmatization and mental health associated with a migratory lifestyle in China, our preliminary data suggest that the migrant population is strongly stigmatized. Moreover, it appears that substantial numbers of these migrants experience mental health symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, hostility). While the population potentially affected is substantial (more than 7 percent of the entire population in mainland China) and our data seem to indicate that the issue is pervasive in this population, there is essentially no literature on the topic in China or elsewhere. Accordingly, we propose this 3-year exploratory study (R21) to (1) conduct an ethnographic study among individuals from different social sectors in Beijing (e.g., legislature, policy-making, law-reinforcement, health care, public media, local community, migrants) to explore and document the forms, contexts and outcomes of stigma and stigmatization associated with rural migrants; (2) develop, validate, and administer a quantitative assessment battery to measure perceptions and experiences of stigmatization and mental health symptoms; and (3) test a hypothesized model conceptualizing the relationship between social stigma and mental health symptoms among rural migrants. This proposed study is an interdisciplinary international collaborative effort among the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Beijing Normal University, China. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SSS-N (50))
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Michels, Kathleen M
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Wayne State University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Li, Xiaoming; Zhang, Liying; Stanton, Bonita et al. (2007) HIV/AIDS-related sexual risk behaviors among rural residents in China: potential role of rural-to-urban migration. AIDS Educ Prev 19:396-407

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