Child Indicators Research

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 299–317 | Cite as

Parental Social Support and Adolescent Well-Being: a Cross-Sectional Study in China

  • Ziyu WangEmail author
  • Anne Kouvonen
  • Mirja Satka
  • Ilse Julkunen


The aim of this study was to examine whether the two components of parental social support, emotional and instrumental, are associated with various aspects of adolescent well-being in the current Chinese context. A sample of 1306 adolescents (47% girls, 11, 13 and 15 years old, 39% urban) was derived from the nationally representative 2012 survey “China Family Panel Studies”. Four indicators of adolescent well-being were examined: health status, academic attainment, self-perception and depression. Logistic regression and multiple linear regression models were applied to analyze associations between the two domains of parental social support and four indicators of adolescent well-being, respectively. Both the intermediate and high levels of emotional support were associated with better self-perception and lower levels of depression, while these associations were only reflected at the high level of instrumental support. In addition, only the high level of emotional support was associated with higher academic attainment. Overall these associations remained after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, including age, gender, living location, family income and family size. However, some of the confounders were more influential on adolescent well-being than others. For example, those adolescents who lived in rural areas were more likely to report suboptimal health status. These findings are discussed in the context of the rapid changes in Chinese society. This research adds to the empirical evidence on the association between parental social support and adolescent well-being in contemporary Mainland China.


Adolescent Child Social support Well-being Parent China 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in WroclawWroclawPoland
  3. 3.UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health (Northern Ireland)Queen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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