Examining live-in foreign domestic helpers correlates and parenting correlates in children’s externalizing behavior in Hong Kong

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Original languageEnglish
Article number107014
Journal / PublicationChildren and Youth Services Review
Online published22 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


Background: Approximately one third of Hong Kong households with children aged 12 and below employed livein foreign domestic helpers (FDHs). However, research is scarce on examining the relationships between thisFDHs-involved childcare and children’s socio-emotional outcomes.
Objective: This study aims to examine the non-parental (i.e., FDHs) childcare correlates and parenting correlateswhich are associated with children’s self-reported externalizing behavior (e.g., noncompliance, fighting).
Method: This study invited 244 Hong Kong families with Grade 4 to Grade 6 children who have live-in FDHs intheir families. Child-reported attachment to FDHs was assessed. Parental warmth, control, and guan, an indigenous Chinese parenting dimension, were reported by fathers and mothers respectively. 216 children, 199 fathers, and 212 mothers returned their questionnaires.
Findings: The hierarchical regression analyses found that, among parental correlates, only maternal warmth had asignificant negative correlation with children’s externalizing behavior. When including the non-parental andparental correlates, only children’s attachment toward FDHs showed a significant negative correlation withchildren’s externalizing behavior.
Conclusion: This study pioneered in examining the relationship between children’s secondary attachment towardnon-parental caregivers (i.e., FDHs) and children’s socioemotional outcome. It also extended the attachmenttheory to the setting of non-parental childcare in late childhood. 

© 2023 Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Externalizing behavior, Attachment, Non-parental childcare, Parenting dimension, Chinese

Citation Format(s)