How family matters in shaping offspring worldviews : personal and interpersonal antecedents of children's social axioms

M.M. Wong, Xiaohua Sylvia Chen, W.C. Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The present study examined the applicability of social beliefs in schoolaged children and investigated factors contributing to the formation of their views about the world. As an extension of the authors’ previous work on family dysfunction and social axioms, they hypothesized a mediation model to identify personal and interpersonal antecedents for two dimensions of social axioms, namely, social cynicism and reward for application. Data on general family functioning were collected from elementary school students in Hong Kong. Results of path analysis showed that family dysfunction predicted self-esteem and relationship harmony negatively; in turn, self-esteem predicted social cynicism negatively and relationship harmony predicted reward for application positively. These findings confirmed the mediating effect of self-esteem on personal development and that of relationship harmony on interpersonal development, with both leading from the quality of family functioning to different beliefs on the dimensional profile of a person’s social axioms. The direct effect of family dysfunction was also significant on the two axioms. Together, these results support the position that familial influences shape the formation of a child’s worldview.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-90
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of psychology in chinese societies (華人心理學報)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Social axioms
  • Self-esteem
  • Relationship harmony
  • Family dysfunction
  • Children

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