Editor's Pick - August 2023



Hope and depression among left-behind children: A moderated mediation model
Ping Zhang, Fanyan Meng, and Weikang Ruan (Shanghai Institute of Technology),  Xiaolin Wang (Anqing Normal University), 2023, 51(3), e12271



In one of the classes of “Introduction to Psychology” that I took as a first year undergraduate, one of our professors had once said that one characteristic of psychology students is that they have all read Frankl’s “Man's Search for Meaning” at some point in their adolescence.

Although the circumstances which Frankl experienced were indeed extreme, the notion of searching for meaning, and of the role of hope is prevalent in everyone’s lives. We all need to deal with personal challenges on a daily basis, as well as ones inflicted upon us by the ruling socio-political and economic systems. No matter where we are based, we all experience the ongoing implications of the pandemic years as well as the war in Europe. Not to mention the effects of the climate crisis, which is a big gray cloud on our horizon.

That is why I found inspiration in the work of Zhang et al. (2023) who gave voice to the large population of China’s left-behind children in their way of managing depression.

The authors define this population as children who are “under the age of 18 years who live with only one or neither of their parents for more than 6 months of the year while the parent(s) are away working” (Zhang, 2023, p. 1).

Experiencing long periods of absence of one or two parents, can be extremely difficult for children, and obviously for their parent(s). This is a global phenomenon (UNICEF, n.d.), and there is need to care for this vulnerable group.

In their work Zhang et al. (2023) indicate that hope is associated with decreased levels of depression among left-behind children, and that this relationship is mediated by life satisfaction, and moderated by a positive coping style.

Aside from our sensitivity and awareness to the topic, reading this manuscript can help us think of where we can instill hope amongst people around us, and in this world in general.



Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man's search for meaning. Simon and Schuster.

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (n.d.) UNICEF WORKING PAPER Children "Left Behind". https://www.unicef.org/documents/children-left-behind

Keren Segal | Associate Editor
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

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