Research mainly funded by the Research Grants Council (RGC) is helping to provide new insights into parental control during early adolescence of Hong Kong children.
Professor Daniel Tan Lei Shek at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of Social Work believes his findings could help social workers and education professionals to connect more responsively with families during the course of their work.
"Based on the findings the study provides some useful pointers for developing parenting programs and family intervention techniques, particularly for families experiencing economic disadvantages," said Professor Shek. Academically, the research project fills a gap pertinent to the relationship between economic disadvantaged families as well as the emotional quality of life during early adolescence in Chinese culture.
Conducted over three years involving Secondary 1, 2 and 3 students attending 16 schools randomly selected from different Hong Kong geographical areas, Professor Shek examined the nature of parenting, parent-child relational qualities and psychological well-being in adolescents with and without economic disadvantages. Research revealed that adolescents experiencing economic disadvantages generally held a more negative perception of parenting quality than those adolescents from families without economic challenges. The differences were more pronounced for the father-adolescent relationship compared to the mother-adolescent relationship.
In addition, compared with adolescents not facing economic disadvantages, adolescents growing up in poor families tended to express more pronounced feelings of hopelessness. They also displayed lower levels of mastery of life skills, general satisfaction and lower self-esteem.
Professor Shek said the research project is the first known scientific study to examine issues in Chinese adolescents growing up