Parents "make a difference" : parental beliefs, family processes, achievement motivation and psychological competence of adolescents experiencing economic disadvantage in Hong Kong
Author(s)Leung, Tsin Yee Janet
KeywordsParent and teenager -- China -- Hong Kong.
Parenting -- China -- Hong Kong.
Poor teenagers -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
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Abstractxix, 573 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
PolyU Library Call No.: [THS] LG51 .H577P APSS 2012 Leung
This study examined the relationships amongst parental beliefs, family processes, and achievement motivation and psychological competence of economically disadvantaged adolescents in Hong Kong. The research employed the ecological perspective of human development, with expectancy-value theory of motivation (Eccles et al., 1998, 2006) and social capital theory of the family (Coleman, 1988, 1990) as the theoretical framework. Three parental beliefs Chinese cultural beliefs about adversity, attribution of children's success and failure to effort, and expectations of children's future were studied. The research further investigated how parenting style, parental control, family functioning, and parental sacrifice for children's education influenced adolescents' positive development. The research covered two phases. The first phase focused on the development and validation of two instruments. The second phase involved the main study. A sample of 275 intact economically disadvantaged families was recruited, with at least one adolescent child aged 11-16 in each family. A quantitative cross-sectional research design using the validated instruments was employed. The Parental Expectations of Children's Future Scale and the Parental Sacrifice for Children's Education Scale were developed and validated in this study. Both measures showed good internal consistency, test-retest reliability, convergent validity, and factor analysis, suggesting that they possessed good psychometric properties.
There were important findings from the main study. First, parental beliefs, particularly expectations of children's future, significantly predicted parental control, family functioning and parental sacrifice for children's education. Second, adolescents' perceptions of maternal control and paternal sacrifice for children's education predicted adolescent achievement motivation, whereas maternal control, family functioning and paternal sacrifice for children's education predicted adolescent psychological competence. Third, the mediating effects of family processes in the influences of parental beliefs on adolescents' achievement motivation and psychological competence were identified. Fourth, fathers and mothers showed significant differences in the perceptions of parenting style, parental control and parental sacrifice, with fathers having less involvement in family processes. Fifth, there were significant parent-adolescent discrepancies in the perceptions of parenting style, parental control, family functioning and parental sacrifice for children's education. Finally, it was found that mother-child discrepancies in perceptions of maternal sacrifice for children's education adversely predicted adolescents' achievement motivation, whereas father-child discrepancies in perceptions of family functioning adversely predicted adolescents' psychological competence. The study provides important theoretical contributions. It highlights the importance of developing indigenous Chinese concepts and family models. The study also employed the "positive youth development" paradigm to address the importance of parental beliefs and family processes as protective factors of adolescent development in the context of poverty. Furthermore, the study portrayed how dyadic and systemic family processes are related to adolescent development in Chinese families experiencing economic disadvantage. The research has practical implications for social work intervention and policy formulation to enhance achievement motivation and resilience of economically disadvantaged adolescents, which can provide important cues for alleviating the problem of intergenerational poverty. With these methodological advances of multiple perspectives and validated indigenous instruments, the research is a pioneering scientific study of familial factors in the positive development of Chinese adolescents experiencing economic disadvantage.
Department of Applied Social Sciences
Ph.D., Dept. of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2012