An ecological examination of social capital effects on the academic achievement of chinese migrant children

Qiaobing Wu, Lawrence A. Palinkas, Xuesong He

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing upon a sample of 772 migrant children and their parents in Shanghai, China, this study employed an ecological framework to investigate how social capital embedded in a range of social contexts (family, school, peer and community) influenced the academic achievement of Chinese migrant children. Using structural equation modelling (SEM), the study results suggested that higher levels of family and school social capital were associated with better academic achievement of migrant children. Community social capital did not present a significant direct effect; however, it predicted children's academic performance indirectly through the mediating effects of family and school social capital. Unexpectedly, peer social capital appeared not to be associated with children's academic achievements. This research advances social capital theory by unravelling the mechanism through which multiple dimensions of social capital operate on youth development. The findings imply utilising social capital building as an innovative approach in social work practice and policy to improving the education of migrant children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2578-2597
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic achievement
  • China
  • Ecological framework
  • Migrant children
  • Social capital
  • Structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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