Parenting factors and meaning of life among Chinese adolescents: A six-wave longitudinal study

Daniel T.L. Shek, Catherine W.Y. Chai, Diya Dou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Using six-wave data, the present study examined the influence of parent-child subsystem relational qualities (indexed by parental behavioral control, psychological control, and parent-child relationship) on the initial status and growth trajectory of meaning of life (MOL) in Chinese adolescents. Methods: A total of 2023 high school students in Hong Kong (M age = 12.53 ± 0.66 years, 48.0% male students) responded to a questionnaire measuring their perceived parent-child subsystem relational qualities and meaning of life for six consecutive years from 2009/2010. Individual growth curve (IGC) analyses and multiple regression analyses were used. Results: Results of IGC analyses showed that parental behavioral control and parent-child relationship quality at Wave 1 positively predicted the initial level of adolescent MOL but negatively influenced the growth trajectory of MOL. Parental psychological control at the initial level negatively predicted the initial status of MOL but not the developmental trajectory of adolescent MOL. However, compared with adolescents experiencing poorer parent-child relational subsystem qualities, adolescents with better parent-child relational subsystem qualities showed significantly higher MOL at each time point. Multiple regression analyses also showed that while parent-child relationship quality and paternal behavioral control concurrently and longitudinally exhibited positive predictions on adolescent MOL, the impact of parental psychological control on adolescent MOL showed different patterns in early and late adolescence. Conclusions: The pioneering findings underline the important role of different parent-child subsystem relational qualities in influencing adolescent MOL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Chinese adolescents
  • Life meaning
  • Parent-child relationship
  • Parental behavioral control
  • Psychological control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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