The adaptation of Chinese adolescents in two societies: A comparison of Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong and Australia

Man Cynthia Leung, Wally Karnilowicz

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to compare the adaptation of two groups of migrant Chinese adolescents with their nonmigrant peers. The migrant adolescents included 55 Chinese migrant adolescents who migrated to Australia (Chinese-Australian) and 111 China-born adolescents who migrated to Hong Kong (Chinese-Hong Kong). The nonmigrant adolescents included 157 Anglo-Australian adolescents residing in Australia and 456 Hong Kong-born Chinese adolescents residing in Hong Kong. There were three research questions in this study. First, would there be any differences in the adaptation of Chinese migrant adolescents in different societies of settlement? Second, would migrant adolescents experience more adaptation problems than nonmigrant adolescents? Third, would there be any differences in the adaptation of adolescents in the two societies, Australia and Hong Kong? It was hypothesized that: (1) mainland Chinese migrant adolescents in Hong Kong would experience more adaptation problems than Chinese migrant adolescents in Australia; (2) migrant adolescents would report better adaptation than nonmigrant adolescents; (3) adolescents in Hong Kong would report poorer adaptation than adolescents in Australia. The participants were requested to complete a questionnaire on various adaptation outcome measures including life satisfaction, self-esteem, psychological symptoms, academic satisfaction, and behaviour problems. The results indicated that Chinese-Australian adolescents reported better psychological adaptation but Chinese-Hong Kong adolescents reported better sociocultural adaptation. Adolescents resident in Australia reported higher psychological adaptation but lower sociocultural adaptation than those in Hong Kong. Migrant adolescents reported better psychological and sociocultural adaptation than their nonmigrant counterparts. The results were discussed in relation to the social and educational systems of the two societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-178
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Adolescents
  • Chinese
  • Migrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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