Are only children always better? Testing the sibling effects on academic performance in rural Chinese adolescents

Jiayi Shi, Ling Li*, Dandan Wu, Hui Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The impact of the one-child policy on urban children's development has been widely studied, leaving those from rural areas unexplored. This study investigated the sibling effects (only-child or not) on adolescents’ academic achievement in rural China. Altogether 156 pairs of only children and their peers with siblings (Female = 145, 46.5%; aged from 13-17; Mage = 14.83) were sampled and matched from rural schools; then they completed the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Math, Reading, and Science tests and parental questionnaires. The descriptive and hierarchical regression results indicated that the adolescents with siblings had significantly higher academic achievement, parents’ academic expectation, desk ownership, and kindergarten level than the only children. In addition, kindergarten level, eyesight, and parents’ academic expectations were significant predictors of rural adolescents’ academic achievement. These findings suggested that: (1) the educational authorities should build an equitable preschool learning situation; (2) teachers should lead only children to set and make progress on educational goals; (3) parents should raise the awareness of protecting children’s eyesight in those remote and rural areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106291
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume131
Early online date9 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • only child
  • academic achievement
  • rural Chinese students
  • PISA
  • eyesight

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