Association between parents' marital status and the development of purpose, hope, and self-esteem in adolescents in Hong Kong

Wing Hong CHUI, Yee Hang Mathew WONG

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Abstract

This study investigates the role of parents’ marital status in adolescents’ mental well-being. Although the separation of parents is generally regarded as a negative condition on adolescents’ growth, we find evidence of strong positive development in certain areas. Faced with an adverse family background, even though teenagers might have lower happiness and life satisfaction, they come to develop stronger purpose in life, higher hope for the future, and higher self-esteem. We argue that this is because the tougher circumstances force them to become independent and develop their own identity. On the other hand, these attributes are found to be lower among older adolescents in “normal” family backgrounds, which provide an interesting contrast to prior research, which has argued that intact families are positive for development. The results of this study have strong implications for the study of teenage well-being. Copyright © 2015 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-838
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume38
Issue number6
Early online date16 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2017

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Citation

Chui, W. H., & Wong, M. Y. H. (2017). Association between parents' marital status and the development of purpose, hope, and self-esteem in adolescents in Hong Kong. Journal of Family Issues, 38(6), 820-838. doi: 10.1177/0192513X15606490

Keywords

  • Purpose in life
  • Hope
  • Self-esteem
  • Adolescents
  • Divorce
  • Parents
  • Family
  • Chinese
  • Hong Kong