The Impact of Childhood Emotional Abuse on Adolescents’ Subjective Happiness : the Mediating Role of Emotional Intelligence

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)2387–2401
Journal / PublicationApplied Research in Quality of Life
Issue number6
Online published2 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


Subjective happiness has been considered a key indicator of adolescents’ healthy development. The present study aimed at identifying the impact of childhood emotional abuse on adolescents’ subjective happiness and the possible role of emotional intelligence as a mediating variable. Using convenience sampling, a cross-sectional survey was conducted with 9 secondary schools in Hong Kong, China. Participants included a total of 1710 grade 8 to grade 9 secondary school students. The mean age was 13.6, and 61.2% were boys. Measures included child abuse and trauma, emotional intelligence, and subjective happiness. The results showed that childhood emotional abuse in adolescents’ childhood is a significant risk factor for subjective happiness. Emotional intelligence has a partial mediation effect on the relationship between childhood emotional abuse and subjective happiness. It is noteworthy that parenting practices in childhood have a significant impact on children’s happiness even after a period of time. It is suggested that students’ emotional intelligence be enhanced to increase their subjective happiness. Although the conventional parenting style may be rooted in Chinese culture, a paradigm shift in parenting seems to be needed for Chinese parents. Efforts should be made to promote appropriate parenting methods and emotional intelligence in Chinese societies. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

Research Area(s)

  • Childhood emotional abuse, Chinese adolescents, Emotional intelligence, Subjective happiness