Parenting Influence on Adolescents’ Socialization in the Chinese Cultural Context


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date20 May 2020


Prevention of problematic behaviors is one of the primary goals for adolescents’ socialization, and parenting strategies can significantly influence this process. Many studies have examined the association between parenting and adolescents’ socialization outcomes in Western cultural contexts; however, few studies have systematically considered the conditions in China. For this dissertation, therefore, I investigated the influence of parenting on adolescents’ socialization outcomes in the Chinese cultural context from three perspectives: 1) the perceptual perspective, 2) the intrapersonal perspective, and 3) the interpersonal perspective. School bullying and excessive video game playing were selected as representatives of typical problematic behaviors. This dissertation adopted a dyadic measurement and conducted a school-based survey study in two cities in mainland China (Hangzhou and Nanning). A total of 142 parent–adolescent dyads were recruited and the participants were asked to report their perceptions of parental behaviors and demographic information; adolescents also reported their behaviors.

The results indicated that, from the perceptual perspective, parents and adolescents could generally reach an agreement on parental behaviors. However, they tended to hold very different opinions in terms how family communication is orientated. Adolescents, compared to their parents, were more likely to report the family communication environment as highly conformity-orientated. The results also suggested that, from the intrapersonal perspective, adolescents’ perceived parental knowledge can mediate the negative effect of perceived parental responsiveness on bullying behaviors, whereas perceived parental control can directly reduce adolescents’ time spent playing video games. The perceived conformity orientation within the family may increase adolescents’ bullying by lowering their perceived parental responsiveness. On the other hand, the interpersonal model indicated that parental responsiveness prevented adolescents from engaging in school bullying, and parental control had a similar effect on adolescents’ excessive video game playing. These findings offer several theoretical and practice implications for family researchers, Chinese parents and adolescents, social workers, and other professionals. From a theoretical perspective, the dissertation introduces an interactional approach to examining the influence of parenting. This approach provides a way to measure misperceptions between parents and adolescents. This dissertation also extends knowledge of the influence of parenting on adolescents’ socialization outcomes among Chinese families. From a practical perspective, the dissertation’s findings offer Chinese parents, adolescents, and other professionals valuable tips to improve communication effectiveness within the family, enhance the quality of parent–child relationships, and promote adolescents’ socialization outcomes.