Impulsiveness or self-protection? Exploring individual perceptions, family and school strains related to why adolescents run away from home in China

Yanping Yu, Atkinson-Sheppard, S. and Yunjiao Gao 2019. Impulsiveness or self-protection? Exploring individual perceptions, family and school strains related to why adolescents run away from home in China. Children and Youth Services Review. 108, p. 104615 104615. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104615

TitleImpulsiveness or self-protection? Exploring individual perceptions, family and school strains related to why adolescents run away from home in China
TypeJournal article
AuthorsYanping Yu, Atkinson-Sheppard, S. and Yunjiao Gao
Abstract

Adolescents under the age of 18 running away from home is an ‘ill-timed’ event, but there has been a paucity of empirical research exploring why adolescents run away from home in China. To address this, and by drawing on intensive in-depth interviews with 40 runaway adolescents, this study examined how the interactions between
family and school strains as well as adolescents’ perceptions of those experiences facilitate their decision to leave home in China. The study found that unstable transitions among parents and other caregivers, abuse by parents and other caregivers, neglect by parents, and exclusion from school were common strains prior to an adolescent’s decision to leave home. The adolescents in this study perceived their family and school experiences as overwhelmingly negative and struggled to cope with these strains; running away from home became the last resort
for the majority of participants. In conclusion, this study supports the social psychological perspective that runaway behavior is a result of the interaction between environmental precursors and individual factors. Policyand practical implications related to reducing runaway adolescents are considered and should focus on establishing an executable child protection system.

KeywordsRunaways
Adolescents
China
Street children
Qualitative
Article number104615
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Journal citation108, p. 104615
ISSN0190-7409
Year2020
PublisherElsevier
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104615
Publication dates
Published28 Nov 2019
Published in printJan 2020

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