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17-09-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2018

Family Risks and Adolescent Adjustment in Chinese Contexts: Testing the Mediating Role of Emotional Intelligence

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2018
Rebecca Y. M. Cheung, Man Chong Leung, Kevin Kien Hoa Chung, Hoi Yan Cheung


The present study tested the mediating role of adolescents’ emotional intelligence for the effects of family risks on adolescent adjustment in two Chinese settings, namely Hong Kong and Macau. A total of 804 Chinese adolescents (36.3% female) in Hong Kong (n = 441) and Macau (n = 363) completed a set of self-reported questionnaires. Findings based on path analysis suggested that economic stress was positively associated with family conflict. In addition, family risks including economic stress and family conflict were inversely associated with adolescents’ emotional intelligence and prosocial behaviors, and positively associated with both internalizing and externalizing problems. Bootstrapping supported emotional intelligence as a mediating mechanism between family risks and adolescent adjustment, as indexed by their prosocial behaviors, internalizing problems, and externalizing problems. Multi-group path analysis further demonstrated gender similarities in the risk and protective processes underlying adolescent adjustment. Extending the findings based on studies conducted in Western contexts, the present research indicated the detrimental effects of family stressors, including economic stress and family conflict, on adolescent functioning in Hong Kong and Macau. Findings contributed to the growing literature that delineates risk and protective processes underlying adjustment outcomes in Chinese adolescents.

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