Relationships between Social Support Cognition Types and Family Resource Management of Chinese Migrant Workers

Article excerpt

In this study, we analyzed the relationship between social support cognition types and family resource management. Participants were 501 migrant workers in Suzhou, China. The results indicated that: (a) migrant workers with different social support cognition types reported significant differences in their family resource management, (b) migrant workers with different demographic variables reported significant differences in their social support cognition types, and (c) certain demographic variables and social support cognition Type II significantly predicted family resource management.

Keywords: migrant workers, social support cognition types, family resource management.

In China, migrant workers are neither traditional peasants nor purely urban residents; instead, they are a marginal group residing between the urban and rural areas. They make great contributions to the development of the country, but the household registration system claims there is an essential distinction between migrant workers and urban residents. For a long time, this has isolated migrant workers in terms of social relationships and psychological, cultural, and political participation. Thus, migrant workers have become a vulnerable group whose members easily become trapped in poverty.

Social support networks have been an important factor in the survival of the poor. Therefore, in order to improve their living conditions, migrant workers need help with using social support effectively and also with managing their limited resources. Social support is a resource that individuals exchange with groups or other individuals through social relationships (Wang, 2004). It can be divided into formal and informal social networks. The formal social networks contain both governmental and regional organizations. Informal social networks include relationships that are built through blood ties, as well as geopolitical and private relationships (Lan & He, 2004). Based on related research (Zhang & Xing, 2007), social support is divided into five categories in this study: life, work, welfare, children's education, and government policy.

Family resource management is the process of using resources in order to attain family goals through planning and taking the steps necessary for achieving those goals (Deacon & Firebaugh, 1988). It can be seen from different angles, including creating, converting, and selecting resources, as well as determining the best use for each resource (Goldsmith, 2005). In this study, we classified family resources according to four categories: emotion, finance, information, and services. Only those who know how to use and manage family resources can gain the maximum benefits of those resources. Individuals' economic lives are deeply embedded in their social networks, and they can gain information, influence, trust, and other social resources through their social support networks (Granovetter, 1995); thus, social support has an important effect on migrant workers' family resource management.

Following the studies outlined above, three hypotheses were tested:

Hypothesis 1: Migrant workers with different types of social support cognition will have different levels of family resource management.

Hypothesis 2: Migrant workers' social support cognition type will be influenced by demographic variables.

Hypothesis 3: Migrant workers' family resource management will be directly affected by their social support cognition type and by demographic variables.

Method

Participants

A total of 900 migrant workers from Suzhou were selected as participants by purposive sampling. They were asked to complete the Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ) and the Family Resource Management Questionnaire (FRMQ). A total of 501 valid responses were collected (65.23%). The characteristics of the participants were: male (61.5%), monthly income below US$235 (46.9%), unmarried (70.3%), worked in the manufacturing and service sectors (32. …