Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2015 Dec 16;10(12):e0144947. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144947. eCollection 2015.

Only-Child Status in Relation to Perceived Stress and Studying-Related Life Satisfaction among University Students in China: A Comparison with International Students.

Author information

Department of Public Health Medicine, School of Public Health, University of Bielefeld, P.O. Box 10 02 91, 33502 Bielefeld, Germany.



University students in general face multiple challenges, which may affect their levels of perceived stress and life satisfaction. Chinese students currently face specific strains due to the One-Child Policy (OCP). The aim of this study was to assess (1) whether the levels of perceived stress and studying-related life satisfaction are associated with only-child (OC) status after controlling for demographic and socio-economic characteristics and (2) whether these associations differ between Chinese and international students.


A cross-sectional health survey based on a self-administrated standardised questionnaire was conducted among 1,843 (1,543 Chinese, 300 international) students at two Chinese universities in 2010-2011. Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-14) and Stock and Kraemer's Studying-related Life Satisfaction Scale were used to measure perceived stress and studying-related life satisfaction respectively. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations of OC status with perceived stress and studying-related life satisfaction by sex for Chinese students and international students separately.


The Chinese non-only-children (NOCs) were more likely to come from small cities. Multivariable regression models indicate that the Chinese NOCs were more stressed than OCs (OR = 1.39, 1.11-1.74) with a stronger association in men (OR = 1.48, 1.08-2.02) than women (OR = 1.26, 0.89-1.77). NOCs were also more dissatisfied than their OC fellows in the Chinese subsample (OR = 1.37, 1.09-1.73). Among international students, no associations between OC status and perceived stress or studying-related life satisfaction were found.


To promote equality between OCs and NOCs at Chinese universities, the causes of more stress and less studying-related life satisfaction among NOCs compared to OCs need further exploration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center