Emotional and behavioral problems among left-behind children in Indonesia

Raisatul Umami, Sherly S. Turnip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The number of migrant workers in Indonesia has been increasing over the years. Most of the migrant workers are females with children, creating a huge number of left-behind children (LBC). The issue of LBC has become important to discuss because LBC tends to experience more emotional and behavioral problems than non-LBC. The aim of this study was to assess and compare emotional and behavioral problems between LBC and non-LBC in Indonesia. This paper analyzes data from a project by the Community Mental Health Research Group from the Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Indonesia, held in 2015 - 2016. Materials and Methods: Participants were 629 adolescents: 359 LBC and 270 non-LBC. The data were acquired in a cross-sectional study conducted in rural Indonesia. Data on emotional and behavioral problems were assessed with Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire, while data related to risk factor variables were collected using multidimensional scale of perceived social support, the 6-item De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale, and Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment. The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and multiple regression analysis. Results: The prevalence of emotional and behavioral problems in LBC was 28.4% compared to 21% among non-LBC. Peer attachment, communication, social support, and loneliness were identified as factors that impact the emotional and behavioral problems among LBC. Conclusions: LBC has more emotional and behavioral problems than non-LBC. Comprehensive understanding of various protective and risk factors is needed to provide impactful interventions for LBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-245
Number of pages6
JournalIndian Journal of Psychological Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Adolescents
  • emotional and behavioral problem
  • left-behind children
  • migrant parent


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