The Influence of Adolescent Problem Behaviors on Life Satisfaction: Parent–Child Subsystem Qualities as Mediators

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Research studies showed that adolescent problem behaviors were negatively associated with their life satisfaction. However, the negative impact of problem behaviors on life satisfaction has not been sufficiently researched using longitudinal design and the potential mechanisms have not been well examined. The present study attempted to investigate how early adolescents’ externalizing and internalizing behaviors affect their life satisfaction (LS) as well as the mediating effects of parent-child subsystem qualities. Based on a sample of 2669 Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong who were followed up for three years, the present study found that both externalizing and internalizing behavior led to a decrease in LS among adolescents over time. While parental behavioral control and parent-child relational quality mediated the effects of externalizing behavior, parental factors did not mediate the effects of internalizing behavior. More specifically, parents tended to respond to children’s externalizing behavior by reducing parental involvement and warmth, which subsequently resulted in lower LS of adolescents. The findings imply that it is necessary to promote adolescent LS by reducing their problem behaviors. Moreover, parents should develop effective ways to enhance their understanding of children’s emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1767–1789
Number of pages23
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Chinese adolescents
  • Externalizing behavior
  • Internalizing behavior
  • Longitudinal design
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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