Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 111–131

Chinese Construction of Adolescent Development Outcome: Themes Discerned in a Qualitative Study



Although there are well-known theories of adolescent development in the West, there is a notable lack of theory and empirical support for understanding the outcome of Chinese adolescent development. This paper examines the cultural themes that account for Chinese–Canadian parents’ and adolescent’s construction of adolescent development outcome. A qualitative study approach was used to explore the experiences and views of 19 adolescents and 10 of their parents. Four major themes identified reflect deep-rooted cultural effects. These themes include: be a good person (self-cultivation), be a good child (filial piety), be a self-reliance person to honor family (Chinese familism), and be a mature person (the quest for harmony and other-related attributes). A concept of “self in relational networks” is therefore proposed for understanding the unique outcome of Chinese adolescent development in the Chinese–Canadian context. “Self in relational network,” in this context, refers to the development of a web of good fitting, harmonious, appropriately positioned, and socially acceptable interpersonal relationships in the adult world. The view reflects the indigenous concept of “guanxi” in Chinese culture.


Adolescent Development Outcome Self Chinese Culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkChinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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