This study investigates the role of parents’ marital status in adolescents’ mental well-being. Although the separation of parents is generally regarded as a negative condition on adolescents’ growth, we find evidence of strong positive development in certain areas. Faced with an adverse family background, even though teenagers might have lower happiness and life satisfaction, they come to develop stronger purpose in life, higher hope for the future, and higher self-esteem. We argue that this is because the tougher circumstances force them to become independent and develop their own identity. On the other hand, these attributes are found to be lower among older adolescents in “normal” family backgrounds, which provide an interesting contrast to prior research, which has argued that intact families are positive for development. The results of this study have strong implications for the study of teenage well-being.
- Hong Kong
- purpose in life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)