Confucian virtues and Chinese adolescent development: A conceptual review

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53 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the fact that different Chinese communities have already undergone industrialization and urbanization, Confucian virtues are still regarded as developmental ideals in Chinese culture. Unfortunately, while Confucian virtues are commonly discussed under Chinese philosophies, they are rarely examined in the context of developmental research. In this paper, several key Confucian virtues are discussed, including loyalty (“zhong”), filial piety (“xiao”), benevolence (“ren”), affection (“ai”), trustworthiness (“xin”), righteousness (“yi”), harmony (“he”), peace (“ping”), propriety (“li”), wisdom (“zhi”), integrity (“lian”) and shame (“chi”). These Chinese traditional virtues are also linked to the concepts of character strengths and positive youth development constructs highlighted in Western culture. It is argued that Confucian virtues provide an indigenous conceptual framework to understand character strengths and positive youth development in Chinese culture. Furthermore, when service leadership is considered in Chinese contexts, these virtues should be regarded as important cornerstones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • adolescent development
  • character strengths
  • Chinese culture
  • Confucian virtues
  • service leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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