Economic Development and Subjective Well-being : A Comparative Study of Adolescents in Hong Kong and Macau

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-265
Journal / PublicationChild Indicators Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


With a comparative study on adolescents in Hong Kong (N = 1,830) and Macau (N = 2,761), this article examines how differences in the wider economic contexts would affect the development of subjective well-being in adolescents. In particular, despite having similar levels of economic development, Hong Kong resembles a mature economy while Macau is still enjoying healthy growth due to the difference in the timing of economic booms experienced by the two Chinese cities. Therefore, it is suggested that adolescents in Hong Kong grow up under a constant pressure to be competitive within an increasingly limited economy, while their counterparts in Macau could expect to have a more comfortable time in the future. This crucial difference is hypothesized to be responsible for the observation that older adolescents in Macau are associated with higher hope and purpose in life, while the same cannot be said for those in Hong Kong. Subsequent analysis of the factors underlying the measure of hope further reinforces our arguments. This study carries strong implications for understanding how child well-being is affected by the wider economic conditions.

Research Area(s)

  • Adolescents, Child well-being, Chinese, Economic development, Hong Kong, Hope, Macau, Purpose in life