American and Chinese children's evaluation of personal domain events and resistance to parental authority

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    267 5-, 7-, and 10-year olds, 147 in Hong Kong and 120 in the U.S., evaluated hypothetical personal (and moral) events described as either essential or peripheral to the child’s identity. Straightforward personal events were overwhelmingly evaluated as acceptable based on personal justifications, although more so when events were described as essential to the character’s identity, among American than Chinese, and among older than younger children. Children mostly endorsed compliance but attributed negative emotions to actors when mothers prohibited personal choices, especially those described as essential to identity. Conventional justifications declined and pragmatic justifications for these judgments increased with age, as did judgments that children should decide personal events. Decision locus and rule legitimacy differed for moral and personal events. The findings of this study is published in two international peer reviewed journals:(1)Smetana, J.G., Ball, C., Yau, J.; & Wong, M. (2017). Effect of type of maternal control on American and Chinese children’s evaluations of personal domain events. Social Development, 26(1), 146-164. doi:10.1111/sode.12178; and (2)Smetana, J. G., Wong, M., Ball, C., & Yau, J. (2014). American and Chinese children's evaluations of personal domain events and resistance to parental authority. Child Development, 85(2), 626-642.

    Funding Source: UGC - Matching Grants
    Effective start/end date16/12/1030/11/12


    • personal domain
    • USA and Chinese children
    • parental authority


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