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University of Vermont

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

China: Health, Environment, and Traditional Chinese Medicine


This study looked at the perceived impacts of China’s 30 year One-Child Policy (OCP). Previous studies suggested the OCP affected Chinese culture and society in a number of ways, however no studies (to the knowledge of the principal investigator) had looked at perceptions of the effects of the OCP on anxiety levels and other mental health issues of students in China. This study sought to fill the aforementioned knowledge gap and aimed to determine perceptions about the mental health effects of the OCP on students. Specifically, this study endeavored to gain a better understanding of perceptions of the effects of the OCP on Chinese culture, the aging population, and students’ mental health along with adults who are only children. This mixed-methods study used two forms of data collection; in-person interviews and WeChat surveys. The quantitative results of this study were analyzed using SPSS Statistical Analysis Software and qualitative data was thematically analyzed to compliment the quantitative results. The results of this study indicated that the primary effects of the OCP on Chinese culture were changes in the values placed on different family roles and a decrease in the value placed on and prevalence of traditional Chinese culture. The results also suggested egocentrism, selfishness and independent awareness were perceived to be higher among OC, which could have been the result of changes in the way OC were treated by their parents and therefore how they developed. Results also indicate the perception that spoiling of OC by parents and grandparents resulted in the lowering of OC’s tolerance to adversity and increased frustration when presented with challenges. Another percieved implication of being an OC was less developed social skills, which could be due to the lack of siblings. Based on the results of this study, it can be suggested that there are significant perceived impacts of the OCP on the mental health of OC.


Asian Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health | Mental and Social Health | Public Health



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