What Predicts Adolescent Delinquent Behavior in Hong Kong? A Longitudinal Study of Personal and Family Factors

Tan Lei Shek, Li Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


All Right Reserved. Using four waves of data from Secondary 1 to Secondary 4 (N = 3328 students at Wave 1), this study examined the development of delinquent behavior and its relationships with economic disadvantage, family non-intactness, family quality of life (i.e., family functioning) and personal well-being (i.e., positive youth development) among Hong Kong adolescents. Individual growth curve models revealed that delinquent behavior increased during this period, and adolescents living in non-intact families (vs. intact families) reported higher initial levels of delinquent behavior while those living in poor families (vs. non-poor families) showed a greater increase in delinquent behavior. In addition, with the demographic factors controlled, the initial levels of family quality of life and personal well-being were negatively associated with the initial level of delinquent behavior, but positively associated with the growth rate of delinquent behavior. Regression analyses showed that family quality of life and personal well-being were related to the overall delinquent behavior concurrently at Wave 4. However, Wave 1 family quality of life and personal well-being did not predict Wave 4 delinquent behavior with the initial level of delinquent behavior controlled. Lastly, we discussed the role of economic disadvantage and family non-intactness as risk factors and family functioning and positive youth development as protective well-being factors in the development of adolescent well-being indexed by delinquent behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1291-1318
Number of pages28
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Chinese adolescents
  • Delinquent behavior
  • Economic disadvantage
  • Family functioning
  • Family intactness
  • Positive youth development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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