(In)Congruence in Child-Mother Relationships and Depressive Symptoms in Cross-Boundary Families

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037–1047
Journal / PublicationJournal of Family Psychology
Volume37
Issue number7
Online published29 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Abstract

A large number of school-aged children traveling between Mainland China and Hong Kong every day to attend school are known as cross-boundary students (跨境學童). Daily cross-boundary schooling is likely to be a constant challenge for cross-boundary students and their families, putting them at great risk of mental health problems (e.g., depression). Nevertheless, intergenerational relationships may be positive contributors to their adaptation. Guided by the interdependence theory and the operations triad model, this study employed dyadic response surface analysis to take into account linear and curvilinear associations between child-mother relationships and their depressive symptoms. The cross-sectional results based on 187 child-mother dyads showed that when children and mothers reported relatively high levels of closeness and relatively low levels of conflict, they reported fewer depressive symptoms. The extreme closeness between children and their mothers posed particular risks to mothers, increasing maternal depressive symptoms. When children and mothers reported varying levels of closeness and conflict, they displayed greater depressive symptoms. One exception was that no significant association was observed between incongruence in closeness and children's depressive symptoms. Family-based interventions should be considered for promoting optimal child-mother combinations. © 2023 American Psychological Association.

Research Area(s)

  • cross-boundary students, depressive symptoms, parent-child relationships, dyadic response surface analysis, Hong Kong, PARENT-ADOLESCENT RELATIONSHIPS, PARTNER INTERDEPENDENCE MODEL, RESPONSE-SURFACE ANALYSIS, INFORMANT DISCREPANCIES, POLYNOMIAL REGRESSION, PERCEPTIONS, HEALTH, OUTCOMES, RISK