Association Between Parents’ Marital Status and the Development of Purpose, Hope, and Self-Esteem in Adolescents in Hong Kong

Wing Hong Chui, Mathew Y.H. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-838
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescents
  • Chinese
  • divorce
  • family
  • Hong Kong
  • hope
  • parents
  • purpose in life
  • self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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