Validating the Scale Measuring Dysfunctional Parenting with Hong Kong Adolescents

  • Alex Yue Feng Zhu


Dysfunctional parenting in situations requiring discipline is an important issue in Hong Kong. However, few scales for measuring dysfunctional parenting have been validated in the local context. The current study validated, with a sample of Hong Kong adolescents, a dysfunctional parenting scale that has been widely adopted in the West. A total of 965 adolescent students (males 43.3%, mean age 14.6, and range 12–18) were recruited for this study. Principal component analysis with varimax rotations and Tucker’s congruence coefficient were adopted to examine the factor structure of the scale and its stability. Cronbach’s alpha and correlation analysis were used to assess the internal consistency and the convergent and divergent validity of the scale and of each subscale identified. Three stable factors (laxness, overreactivity, and verbosity) were extracted, and their individual items demonstrated good internal consistency. The convergent and divergent validity of the scale (and subscales) were confirmed by its positive association with the material hardship of the families, the parental stress, and the antisocial behavior of the adolescents, their haughtiness and loneliness, and by its negative association with the adolescents’ social skills. Unlike previous studies that investigated parents’ rearing of young children, where verbosity was not detected as a significant factor, in adolescents, verbosity was detected as a factor affecting discipline. For adolescents in Hong Kong, verbosity is shown to be a dysfunctional parenting behavior; this is also true of Western adolescents but differs from traditional Chinese cultural beliefs.


Dysfunctional parenting Hong Kong adolescents Laxness Overreactivity Scale validation Verbosity 



I would like to thank all adolescent participants and their affiliated schools, for their cooperation and contribution.


This study was funded by grants from the Research Grant Council Strategic Public Policy Research (HKIEd 7001-SPPR-11).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Innovative Programmes for Adolescents and Families, Jockey Club Innovative TowerThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong HumHong Kong

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