Issue 16, February 2009

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Postgraduate Research Fellowship Scheme
Risk Management and Corporate Governance Practices of Listed Chinese Companies
Modeling Default Correlation Using Credit Contagion Approach
Margin Setting Methodologies Under a Constraint of
Change Frequencies
A Longitudinal Study of Parental Control in Early Adolescence in
Hong Kong
Demographic Analysis of Healthy Longevity in China
Chess for those Playing From The Heart
RGC Public Lectures - Cancer Research

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

in different economic strata's utilising repeated observations of the same concepts over extended periods of time, commonly know as a longitudinal design.

The Chinese Parental Control Scale developed using the research data is based more on indigenous Chinese conceptions of parental control. "The objective of the project is to dissimilate information into the community and areas where professionals and parents benefit from our work," said the Professor.

"Currently, Hong Kong professionals working with families on parental and social issues tend to use measures imported from the West based on the western concepts of parenting. However, we know from various studies there are subtle differences between the way Chinese and western parents approach parenting," said Professor Shek. For example, in contrast to the traditional Chinese cultural belief of "strict fathers, kind mothers", the present research findings suggest that the contemporary parenting pattern had become one of "strict mothers, detached fathers" due to a combination of economic and work pressures

Professor Daniel T.L. Shek
Department of Social Work
The Chinese University of Hong Kong