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Autonomy-Granting Parenting and Child Depression: the Moderating Roles of Hope and Life Satisfaction

Abstract

Depression is a common mental health problem among children, and autonomy-granting parenting was found to be an important predictor of child depression. Besides, important psychological strengths such as hope and life satisfaction were suggested to be protective factors for children’s development of depression. However, few studies explored the role of autonomy-granting parenting on child depression in Chinese families and the protective roles of hope and life satisfaction on the relationship. The present study examined the association between autonomy-granting parenting and children’s depression, and the moderating effects of hope and life satisfaction on the relationship among Chinese children in Hong Kong. Participants were 439 children in primary school Grade 4 to 6 in Hong Kong based on convenience sampling. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to assess the relationship among hope, life satisfaction, autonomy-granting parenting and children’s depression. Results showed that hope, life satisfaction and autonomy-granting parenting were all significantly and negatively correlated with depression. The moderation analysis showed that both life satisfaction and hope moderated the relationship between autonomy-granting parenting and children’s depression. The current findings firstly provide evidence for the negative association between autonomy-granting parenting and child depression in Chinese context. It also showed that hope and life satisfaction were two important protective factors for children’s development of depressive symptoms under the lower autonomy-granting parenting.

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W.Y.C. wrote the introduction, results and discussion of the manuscript and conducted the revision based on reviewer’s comments. S.Y.C.L.K. designed and executed the study and helped with the revision of the manuscript. M.G. conducted the data analyses.

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This study was founded by St. James Settlement of Hong Kong.

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Correspondence to Wen Yu Chai.

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All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of City University of Hong Kong and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Chai, W.Y., Kwok, S.Y.C.L. & Gu, M. Autonomy-Granting Parenting and Child Depression: the Moderating Roles of Hope and Life Satisfaction. J Child Fam Stud 27, 2596–2607 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1102-8

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Keywords

  • Autonomy-granting parenting
  • Child depression
  • Hope
  • Life satisfaction
  • Hong Kong