Validating the Scale Measuring Dysfunctional Parenting with Hong Kong Adolescents



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.

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.


  1. Ang, R. P. (2008). Dysfunctional parenting behaviors and parenting stress among mothers of aggressive boys. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 30, 319–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arney, F., Rogers, H., Baghurst, P., Sawyer, M., & Prior, M. (2008). The reliability and validity of the parenting scale for Australian mothers of preschool-aged children. Australian Journal of Psychology, 60, 44–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnold, D. S., O’Leary, S. G., Wolff, L. S., & Acker, M. M. (1993). The parenting scale: A measure of dysfunctional parenting in discipline situations. Psychological Assessment, 5, 137–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, S. A., Arnold, D. H., Dobbs, J., & Doctoroff, G. L. (2007). Parenting predictors of relational aggression among Puerto Rican and European American school-age children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22, 147–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Census and Statistics Department. (2011). 2011 population census 1% / 5% sample data. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Government Printer.Google Scholar
  6. Census and Statistics Department. (2017). Hong Kong annual digest of statistics. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Government Printer.Google Scholar
  7. Chao, R. K. (1995). Chinese and European American cultural models of the self reflected in mothers’ childrearing beliefs. Ethos, 23, 328–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chaudry, A., & Wimer, C. (2016). Poverty is not just an indicator: The relationship between income, poverty, and child well-being. Academic Pediatrics, 16(3), S23-S29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheung, C., Yue, X. D., & Wong, D. S. (2015). Addictive internet use and parenting patterns among secondary school students in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 2301–2309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chu, J. T. W., Bullen, P., Farruggia, S. P., Dittman, C. K., & Sanders, M. R. (2015). Parent and adolescent effects of a universal group program for the parenting of adolescents. Prevention Science, 16, 609–620.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. De Haan, A., Prinzie, P., & Deković, M. (2010). How and why children change in aggression and delinquency from childhood to adolescence: Moderation of overreactive parenting by child personality. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 725–733.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. De Haan, A. D., Prinzie, P., & Deković, M. (2012). Change and reciprocity in adolescent aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors and parental support and dysfunctional discipline. Development and Psychopathology, 24, 301–315.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Del Vecchio, T., Jerusalmi, D., & Terjesen, M. D. (2017). Psychometric characteristics of the parenting scale in a vietnamese sample. International Journal of Psychology, 52, 482–490.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Elmadağ, A. B., & Ellinger, A. E. (2018). Alleviating job stress to improve service employee work affect: The influence of rewarding. Service Business, 12, 121–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Elstad, J. I., & Stefansen, K. (2014). Social variations in perceived parenting styles among norwegian adolescents. Child Indicators Research, 7, 649–670.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Forrest, R., La Grange, A., & Yip, N. (2004). Hong Kong as a global city? Social distance and spatial differentiation. Urban Studies, 41, 207–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gershoff, E. T., Aber, J. L., Raver, C. C., & Lennon, M. C. (2007). Income is not enough: Incorporating material hardship into models of income associations with parenting and child development. Child Development, 78, 70–95.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Guajardo, N. R., Snyder, G., & Petersen, R. (2009). Relationships among parenting practices, parental stress, child behaviour, and children’s social-cognitive development. Infant and Child Development, 18, 37–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harvey, E., Danforth, J. S., Ulaszek, W. R., & Eberhardt, T. L. (2001). Validity of the parenting scale for parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 39, 731–743.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Haskett, M. E., Ahern, L. S., Ward, C. S., & Allaire, J. C. (2006). Factor structure and validity of the parenting stress index-short form. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 302–312.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Heberle, A. E., Thomas, Y. M., Wagmiller, R. L., Briggs-Gowan, M. J., & Carter, A. S. (2014). The impact of neighborhood, family, and individual risk factors on toddlers’ disruptive behavior. Child Development, 85, 2046–2061.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Herwig, J. E., Wirtz, M., & Bengel, J. (2004). Depression, partnership, social support, and parenting: Interaction of maternal factors with behavioral problems of the child. Journal of Affective Disorders, 80, 199–208.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hulei, E., Zevenbergen, A. A., & Jacobs, U. C. (2006). Discipline behaviors of Chinese American and european american mothers. The Journal of Psychology, 140, 459–475.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Irvine, A. B., Biglan, A., Smolkowski, K., & Ary, D. V. (1999). The value of the parenting scale for measuring the discipline practices of parents of middle school children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 37, 127–142.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Janon, N. S. B., & Alwi, S. M. B. S. (2015). Does parenting disciplinary practices affect social behavior of children enrolled in child care centers: Effect of quality child care. Proceedings of the 10th Asian Association of Social Psychology Biennial Conference (pp 44–58). Indonesia.Google Scholar
  26. Kaltiala-Heino, R., Lintonen, T., & Rimpelä, A. (2004). Internet addiction? Potentially problematic use of the internet in a population of 12–18 year-old adolescents. Addiction Research & Theory, 12, 89–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Karazsia, B. T., van Dulmen, M. H., & Wildman, B. G. (2008). Confirmatory factor analysis of Arnold et al.’s parenting scale across race, age, and sex. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 17, 500–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lai, C., Mak, K., Watanabe, H., Jeong, J., Kim, D., Bahar, N., … Cheng, C. (2015). The mediating role of internet addiction in depression, social anxiety, and psychosocial well-being among adolescents in six Asian countries: A structural equation modelling approach. Public Health, 129, 1224–1236.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Leung, C., Chan, S., Lam, T., Yau, S., & Tsang, S. (2016). The effect of parent education program for preschool children with developmental disabilities: A randomized controlled trial. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 56, 18–28.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Leung, J. T., & Shek, D. T. (2017). Validation of the perceived Chinese overparenting scale in emerging adults in Hong Kong. Journal of Child and Family Studies. Scholar
  31. Lorenzo-Seva, U., & Ten Berge, J. M. (2006). Tucker’s congruence coefficient as a meaningful index of factor similarity. Methodology, 2, 57–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Méndez, F. X., Hidalgo, M. D., & Inglés, C. (2002). The Matson evaluation of social skills with youngsters: Psychometric properties of the Spanish translation in the adolescent population. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 18, 30–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Neff, K. D., & McGehee, P. (2010). Self-compassion and psychological resilience among adolescents and young adults. Self and Identity, 9, 225–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Olweus, D. (1979). Stability of aggressive reaction patterns in males: A review. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 852–875.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Leary, S. G., & Vidair, H. B. (2005). Marital adjustment, child-rearing disagreements, and overreactive parenting: Predicting child behavior problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 208–216.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Prinzie, P., Onghena, P., & Hellinckx, W. (2007). Reexamining the parenting scale: Reliability, factor structure, and concurrent validity of a scale for assessing the discipline practices of mothers and fathers of elementary-school-aged children. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 23, 24–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reitman, D., Currier, R. O., Hupp, S. D., Rhode, P. C., Murphy, M. A., & O’Callaghan, P. M. (2001). Psychometric characteristics of the parenting scale in a head start population. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30, 514–524.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Rhoades, K. A., & O’Leary, S. G. (2007). Factor structure and validity of the parenting scale. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36, 137–146.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Sanders, M. R., & Woolley, M. (2005). The relationship between maternal self-efficacy and parenting practices: Implications for parent training. Child: Care, Health and Development, 31, 65–73.Google Scholar
  40. Santos, J. R. A. (1999). Cronbach’s alpha: A tool for assessing the reliability of scales. Journal of Extension, 37, 1–5.Google Scholar
  41. Slack, K. S., & Yoo, J. (2005). Food hardship and child behavior problems among low-income children. Social Service Review, 79, 511–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Slep, A. M. S., & O’Leary, S. G. (1998). The effects of maternal attributions on parenting: An experimental analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 12, 234–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Steele, R. G., Nesbitt-Daly, J. S., Daniel, R. C., & Forehand, R. (2005). Factor structure of the parenting scale in a low-income African American sample. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 14, 535–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sumargi, A., Sofronoff, K., & Morawska, A. (2015). A randomized-controlled trial of the triple P-positive parenting program seminar series with Indonesian parents. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 46, 749–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tellegen, C. L., & Johnston, E. (2017). A service-based evaluation of the effectiveness of an all-day group parenting program. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 664–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Treacy, L., Tripp, G., & Baird, A. (2005). Parent stress management training for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Behavior Therapy, 36, 223–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Venta, A., Velez, L., & Lau, J. (2016). The role of parental depressive symptoms in predicting dysfunctional discipline among parents at high-risk for child maltreatment. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25, 3076–3082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Warren, E. J., & Font, S. A. (2015). Housing insecurity, maternal stress, and child maltreatment: An application of the family stress model. Social Service Review, 89, 9–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wong, H., Saunders, P., Wong, W. P., Chan, W. Y., & Chua, H. W. (2012). Research study on the deprivation and social exclusion in Hong Kong. (Final report). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Council of Social Service.Google Scholar
  50. Zevenbergen, A., & Hu, L. (2002). Cross-cultural variability in maternal discipline behaviors. North Dakota Journal of Human Services, 4, 20–26.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© 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

Personalised recommendations