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The influence of family connection, regulation, and psychological control on Chinese adolescent development

Shan Lin, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This survey study examines the influence of family connection, regulation, and psychological control on Chinese adolescent development, measured in terms of academic achievement, prosocial behavior, depression, and parent-adolescent conflict. The survey was conducted in Chaozhou, Guangdong province in south China in June, 1999. There were 460 participants (230 adolescents with 230 of their parents). The adolescents, aged 14 to 20, were junior-high and high school students. ^ There was a relatively strong sense of connection between the adolescents and their parents. Regulation, however, was even stronger than connection in these Chinese families. There was also low level of psychological control of the adolescents. Regulation (behavioral control) was found to be different from psychological control, and there was a parent-adolescent difference in the perceptions of psychological control. ^ The most frequent regulation of adolescent behaviors included monitoring academic achievement, curfew times, and after-school supervision. The greatest stressors for the adolescents were the fear of academic failure and not meeting the expectations of the parents. The highest level of conflict was related to schoolwork, followed by curfew times, chores, family relations, and friends. ^ Statistically, both adolescent and parent responses indicated that connection and regulation were positive predictors of prosocial behavior, and psychological control was a positive determinant of depression and parent-adolescent conflict. Expectation of GPA, on the other hand, was the strongest, positive predictor of academic achievement. For the parents only, regulation was found to have positive effects on academic achievement. For the adolescents only, regulation was identified to have impacts on the decrease of depression. These results confirm the independent contributions of connection, regulation, and psychological control to adolescent outcomes. ^ The most important finding of this study is that the portrayal of Chinese parenting as “authoritarian” in the Western literature is inaccurate. The low level of love associated with authoritarian parents is simply not true among the Chinese parents in this sample. The Chinese parents are found to be warm, responsive, and supportive. Strict regulation is an expression of the parents' involvement in and caring for the well-being of their children. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Lin, Shan, "The influence of family connection, regulation, and psychological control on Chinese adolescent development" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3016319.