Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 547–558 | Cite as

The Effect of Parental Responsiveness on Differences in Psychological Distress and Delinquency between Singleton and Non-Singleton Chinese Adolescents

  • Ruth X. Liu
  • Wei Lin
  • Zeng-yin Chen
Original Paper


We assessed the differences in psychological distress and delinquent participation between singleton and non-singleton Chinese adolescents and the extent to which parental responsiveness (mother’s vs. father’s) might account for such differences. Using survey reports of 1,924 7th and 8th graders from three middle schools in the outskirts of Fuzhou, China, we observed small but significant differences between singleton and non-singleton adolescents. Singletons reported lower levels of psychological distress and delinquent participation than non-singleton adolescents. Furthermore, singletons received higher levels of parental responsiveness, which was inversely related to psychological distress and delinquent participation, respectively. The difference in psychological distress between singletons and non-singletons was completely mediated by both maternal and paternal responsiveness. Paternal responsiveness alone fully mediated the difference in delinquent participation between singleton and non-singleton adolescents. We discussed these results in light of both theoretical literature and empirical implications.


Delinquency Psychological distress Parental responsiveness Chinese Singleton 



This project was supported by a research fellowship to Ruth X. Liu from the College of Arts and Letters, San Diego State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.School of Public HealthFujian Medical UniversityFuzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of SociologyCalifornia State UniversitySan BernardinoUSA

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