Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version

August 1999


Published in Journal of Marriage and the Family 61:3 (August 1999), p. 815. Copyright © 1999 National Council on Family Relations; published by Blackwell Publishing. Used by permission.


Towards a Chinese Conception of Social Support shows a profound understanding of a relation-oriented society (Liang, 1974) and captures the nature of traditional Chinese social support systems in urban China. It conceptualizes the underlying social support available for working mothers as “Chinese communal support networks.” These networks are characterized by the pooling of network resources, holistic provision of support, rigid boundaries between insiders and outsiders, and a strong sense of reciprocity throughout life. The research method is well justified, and the credibility of the findings is enhanced by the measures and data analysis. Methods used include focus groups, participant observations, revisits with the interviewees, theoretical sampling, triangulation, peer debriefings, and member checks.