We argue that the adverse effects of rapid changes are widespread, with a disproportionate impact on rural populations.
At the same time, we note that rapid sociocultural change has also brought changes in how symptoms of mental illness are presented.
In this paper, we aim to explore the psychological consequences of rapid sociocultural change in China.
We begin with a brief review of these changes since the 1980s, establishing both its scale and its speed compared to other countries over the same time period.
We conclude by reflecting on the implications of sociocultural change for cultural and cultural-clinical psychology, followed by a brief discussion of potential future directions for researching the psychological consequences of sociocultural change.
A 30-year period represents but a tiny fraction of China’s 5,000-year civilization.
Yet, rapid sociocultural change is an essential part of how people in China understand their own recent history, stretching back for at least two centuries.
From the opening of the treaty ports (1842) and the anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion (1900), to more recent social movements such as the Great Leap Forward (1958–1960) and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), the Chinese people are no strangers to social change, or to sudden reversals of fortune.
He adds that this shift is important, as it tends to promote investment in human capital, which in turn contributes to economic growth.
These economic and demographic shifts are interwoven with numerous sociocultural changes, including the shift from a majority rural to majority urban population, the long-term effects of the One Child Policy.