Development and Validation of a Questionnaire on Chinese Parents’ Beliefs in Parental Roles and Responsibilities

Abstract

Parental beliefs concerning parental roles and responsibilities are a crucial domain in the study of parental cognitions, an emic measure of which is not available in Chinese societies. In the context of a mixed-methods study on generational shifts in parental beliefs of five cohorts of Chinese parents in Hong Kong, we developed and validated a culturally- and diachronically-sensitive quantitative measure of parental beliefs on parental roles and responsibilities. A non-random proportionate sample (N = 5,707) of 5 generational cohorts of parents (the earliest cohort being parents of young children in the 1970’s and before) responded to a questionnaire of parental beliefs. An exploratory factor analysis of the data collected from the first sub-sample (n = 2,925) yielded a 23-item fivefold factor structure. A confirmatory factor analysis of the data collected from the second sub-sample (n = 2,596) demonstrated an acceptable model fit. The discovered factors pointed to parental beliefs clustered around five sets of parental roles and responsibilities: (1) parental nurturance of children; (2) parenthood as a normative life stage; (3) parental guidance of the young; (4) fulfilling children’s needs; and (5) readiness to relax and restrict parental control. Cross-cohort analysis confirms the presence of significant generational differences in all 5 sets of parental beliefs. This emic quantitative measure provides a culturally-sensitive scale for studying parental beliefs about parental roles and responsibilities in a Chinese cultural context.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

Change history

  • 15 January 2019

    The published online version of this paper missed to include or acknowledge the Funding source of this paper. The funding support information the author wished to acknowledge was “Project Funded by University Grant council (U414053)”.

References

  1. Atkinson, R. (1998). The life story interview. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bond, M. H. (2010). Moving the scientific study of Chinese psychology into our twenty-first century: Some ways forward. In M. H. Bond (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of Chinese psychology (pp. 711–715). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bond, M. H., & Van de Vijver, F. J. R. (2011). Making scientific sense of cultural differences in psychological outcomes: Unpackaging the magnum mysterium. In D. Matsumoto & F. J. R. van de Vijver (Eds.), Cross-cultural research methods in psychology (pp. 75–100). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bornstein, M. H., & Cheah, C. S. (2006). The place of “culture and parenting” in the ecological contextual perspective on developmental science. Parenting beliefs, behaviors, and parent-child relations: A cross-cultural perspective (pp. 3–33). New York: Psychology Press.

  6. Census and Statistics Department. (2011). Results of the 2011 Population Census. Retrieved June 22, 2018, from https://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/so170.jsp

  7. Census and Statistics Department. (2017). Snapshot of the Hong Kong Population of 2016 Population By-census. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.bycensus2016.gov.hk/data/snapshotPDF/Snapshot04.pdf.

  8. Chan, S. M., Bowes, J., & Wyver, S. (2009). Chinese parenting in Hong Kong: Links among goals, beliefs and styles. Early Child Development and Care, 179(7), 849–862.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Chao, R. K. (1994). Beyond parental control and authoritarian parenting style: Understanding Chinese parenting through the cultural notion of training. Child Development, 65, 1111–1119.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Chen, X., Bian, Y., Xin, T., Wang, L., & Silbereisen, R. K. (2010). Perceived social change and childrearing attitudes in China. European Psychologist, 15, 260–270.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Chuang, S. S., Glozman, J., Green, D. S., & Rasmi, S. (2018). Parenting and family relationships in Chinese families: A critical ecological approach. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 10(2), 367–383.

  12. Clarke-Stewart, K. A. (1998). Historical shifts and underlying themes in ideas about rearing young children in the United States: Where have we been? Where are we going? Early Development and Parenting: An International Journal of Research and Practice, 7(2), 101–117.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Darling, N., & Steinberg, L. (1993). Parenting style as context: An integrated model. Psychological Bulletin, 113(3), 487–496.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Ferketich, S. (1991). Focus on psychometrics: Aspects of item analysis. Research in Nursing & Health, 14, 165–168.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Fok, H. K., & Shek, D. T. (2011a). A methodological critique of parenting research in Hong Kong. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 23(2), 93–99.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Fok, H. K., & Shek, D. T. (2011b). A conceptual critique of parenting research in Hong Kong. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 23(2), 101–107.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Francis, S. E., & Chorpita, B. F. (2010). Development and evaluation of the parental beliefs about anxiety questionnaire. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 32(1), 138–149.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Fung, H., Li, J., & Lam, C. K. (2017). Multi-faceted discipline strategies of Chinese parenting. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 41(4), 472–481.

    Google Scholar 

  19. George, D., & Mallery, P. (2003). SPSS for Windows step by step: A simple guide and reference. 11.0 update (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Guo, K. (2006). Raising children in Chinese immigrant families. Australian Journal of early childhood, 31(2), 7–13.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Halberstadt, A. G., Dunsmore, J. C., Bryant, A., Jr., Parker, A. E., Beale, K. S., & Thompson, J. A. (2013). Development and validation of the parents’ beliefs about Children’s emotions questionnaire. Psychological Assessment, 25(4), 1195–1210.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Harkness, S., & Super, C. M. (2002). Culture and parenting. Handbook of Parenting, 2, 253–280.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Harter, S. (2012). The construction of the self: Developmental and sociocultural foundation (2nd ed.). New York: Guiford.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Hinkin, T. R. (1998). A brief tutorial on the development of measures for use in survey questionnaires. Organizational Research Methods, 1(1), 104–121.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Ho, D. Y. F. (1995). Selfhood and identity in Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism: Contrasts with the West. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 25(2), 115–139.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Ho, D. Y. F., & Kang, T. K. (1984). Intergenerational comparisons of child-rearing attitudes and practices in Hong Kong. Developmental Psychology, 20(6), 1004–1016.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Inglehart, R. (1997). Modernization and postmodernization: Cultural, economic, and political changes in 43 societies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Kim, S. Y., & Wong, V. Y. (2002). Assessing Asian and Asian American parenting: A review of the literature. In Asian American mental health (pp. 185–201). Boston: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Lam, C. M. (2003). Parent education: Vision and revision. Asian Journal of Counseling 10 (2), 147–168.

  30. Lam, C. M. (2005a). In search of the meaning of parent education in the Hong Kong-Chinese context. In M. J. Kane (Ed.), Contemporary issues in parenting (pp. 111–124). New York: Nova Science.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Lam, C. M. (2005b). Chinese construction of adolescent development outcome: Themes discerned in a qualitative study. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 22, 111–131.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Lam, C. M., & Chan-So, P. C. Y. (2015). Validation of the Chinese version of differentiation of self inventory (C-DSI). Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41(1), 86–101. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12031.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Lam, C. M., & Kwong, W. M. (2012). The ‘paradox of empowerment’ in parent education: A reflexive examination of parents’ pedagogical expectations in an action research project. Family Relations, 61(1), 65–74.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Lam, C. M., & Kwong, W. M. (2014). Powerful parent educators and powerless parents: The “empowerment paradox” in parent education. Journal of Social Work, 14(2), 183–195.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Leung, T. T. F., & Lam, C. M. (2009). The warrants of parenting: Emotionality and reflexivity in economically disadvantaged families. Journal of Social Work Practice, 23, 353–367.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Leung, J. T., & Shek, D. T. (2013). Parental beliefs and parental sacrifice of Chinese parents experiencing economic disadvantage in Hong Kong: Implications for social work. British Journal of Social Work, 45(4), 1119–1136.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Liss, M., Schiffrin, H. H., Mackintosh, V. H., Miles-Mclean, H., & Erchull, M. J. (2013). Development and validation of a quantitative measure of intensive parenting attitudes. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22, 621–636.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Luk-Fong, Y. Y. P. (2005). A search for new ways of describing parent-child relationships: Voices from principals, teachers, guidance professionals, parents and pupils. Childhood, 12(1), 111–137.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Mannheim, K. (1997). The problem of generation. In P. Kecskemeti (Ed.), Essays on the sociology of knowledge (pp. 276–320). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  40. McGillicuddy-De Lisi, A. V., & Sigel, I. E. (1995). Parental beliefs. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting (Vol. 3: Status and social conditions of parenting, pp. 333–358). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Merrell, K. W., Felver-Grant, J., & Tom, K. M. (2011). Development and validation of a parent report measure for assessing social-emotional competencies of children and adolescents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20, 529–540.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Ng, F. F. Y., Pomerantz, E. M., & Deng, C. (2014). Why are Chinese mothers more controlling than American mothers? “My child is my report card”. Child Development, 85(1), 355–369.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Nuffield Foundation. (2009). Time trends in parenting and outcomes for young people. London: Nuffield Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Park, H., Coello, J. A., & Lau, A. S. (2014). Child socialization goals in east Asian versus Western nations from 1989 to 2010: Evidence for social change in parenting. Parenting, 14(2), 69–91.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Prager, E., Savaya, R., & Bar-Tur, L. (2000). The development of a culturally sensitive measure of sources of life meaning. In G. T. Reker & K. Chamberlain (Eds.), Exploring existential meaning: Optimizing human development across the life span (pp. 123–138). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Radey, M., & Randolph, K. A. (2009). Parenting sources: How do parents differ in their efforts to learn about parenting? Family Relations, 58(5), 536–548.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Schwab, D. P. (1980). Construct validity in organizational behavior. Research in Organizational Behavior, 2(1), 3–43.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Shek, D. T., & Sun, R. C. (2014). Parenting in Hong Kong: Traditional Chinese cultural roots and contemporary phenomena. In Parenting across cultures (pp. 25–38). Dordrecht: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Sigel, I. E. (1985). A conceptual analysis of beliefs. Parental belief systems: The psychological Consequences for Children, 1, 345–371.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Sigel, I. E., & McGillicuddy-De Lisi, A. V. (2002). Parent beliefs are cognitions: The dynamic belief systems model. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting (2nd ed.), Vol. 3: Being and becoming a parent (pp. 485–508). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Smith, M. C., Loon, P. C., DeFrates-Densch, N., & Schrader, T. O. (1998). Content changes in parent education books for parents of adolescents. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 27(2), 194–213.

    Google Scholar 

  52. So, Y. Y. (2016). Making Sense of Parental Anxiety: Narratives of Lived Experiences of Hong Kong Chinese Parents (Doctoral dissertation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong).

  53. Steven, J. P. (2009). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences (5th ed.). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Stewart, S. M., Rao, N., Bond, M. H., McBride-Chang, C., Fielding, R., & Kennard, B. D. (1998). Chinese dimensions of parenting: Broadening Western predictors and outcomes. International Journal of Psychology, 33(5), 345–358.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Stewart, S. M., & Bond, M. H. (2002). A critical look at parenting research from the mainstream: Problems uncovered while adapting Western research to non‐Western cultures. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20(3), 379–392.

  56. Taubman-Ben-Ari, O., Shlomo, S. B., & Findler, L. (2012). Personal growth and meaning in life among first-time mothers and grandmothers. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 801–820.

    Google Scholar 

  57. To, S. M. (2015). Development and validation of a quantitative measure for the Chinese sources of parental meaning. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 3580–3594.

    Google Scholar 

  58. To, S. M., & Chan, T. S. (2013). Searching for the meaning of parenthood: An existential approach to parent education in the Hong Kong-Chinese context. International Social Work, 56, 467–481.

    Google Scholar 

  59. To, S. M., & Tam, H. L. (2014). Generational differences in work values, perceived job rewards, and job satisfaction of Chinese female migrant workers: Implications for social policy and social services. Social Indicators Research, 118, 1315–1332.

    Google Scholar 

  60. To, S. M., So, Y. Y., Iu Kan, S. M., Tsoi, K. W., & Chan, T. S. (2018). Supporting parents in late modernity through parent education: A mixed methods study in Hong Kong. Journal of Social Work, 18(2), 164–184.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Wang, Q., & Chang, L. (2010). Parenting and child socialization in contemporary China. In M. H. Bond (Ed.), Oxford library of psychology. The Oxford handbook of Chinese psychology (pp. 53–67). New York: Oxford University Press.

  62. Way, N., Okazaki, S., Zhao, J., Kim, J. J., Chen, X., Yoshikawa, H., & Deng, H. (2013). Social and emotional parenting: Mothering in a changing Chinese society. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 4(1), 61.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ching Man Lam.

Ethics declarations

Ethical Approval

The study had obtained ethical approval from the Survey and Behavioral Ethics Committee of the Chinese University of Hong Kong at the time of the research grant application.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lam, C.M., To, S.M. & Kwong, W.M. Development and Validation of a Questionnaire on Chinese Parents’ Beliefs in Parental Roles and Responsibilities. Applied Research Quality Life 15, 693–712 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-018-9682-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Parental beliefs
  • Parenting
  • Chinese
  • Scale development
  • Scale validation