Avoiding Disappointment or Fulfilling Expectation: A Study of Gender, Academic Achievement, and Family Functioning among Hong Kong Adolescents

Wing Hong Chui, Mathew Y.H. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the relationship between gender, academic achievement, and family functioning in a Chinese cultural background. Primary and secondary school students (n = 1597) in Hong Kong participated in a survey questionnaire. Two competing hypotheses are derived and empirically tested based on the idea that parents are likely to have higher expectations toward their sons. First, when boys perform well academically, their parents might not feel particularly overjoyed because their sons simply achieved what they were expected to, which would not affect the parents’ attitudes within the family and thus the boys’ perceptions of the family. Second, when parents have such high expectations for their sons, they would feel particularly satisfied when the outcome fulfills their high expectations. The results indicated that boys did well academically to prevent their parents from potential disappointment, whereas parents were actually happier if their daughters overachieve because they have lower initial expectations. Such differences affected parents’ attitudes, family functioning, and thus adolescents’ view of family. The results of this study carry implications for the study of family functioning and parenting among Chinese families. In particular, parents should avoid having gender-based expectations toward their children, which could adversely affect how boys view their family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic achievement
  • Adolescents
  • Chinese
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Hong Kong
  • Parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Cite this