The Effects of Service Participation, Friendship Networks, and Family Support on Developmental Outcomes: A Study of Young People from Low-Income Families in Hong Kong

By Ngai, Steven Sek-yum; Ngai, Ngan-pun et al. | Adolescence, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Effects of Service Participation, Friendship Networks, and Family Support on Developmental Outcomes: A Study of Young People from Low-Income Families in Hong Kong


Ngai, Steven Sek-yum, Ngai, Ngan-pun, Cheung, Chau-kiu, To, Siu-ming, Adolescence


INTRODUCTION

The transition from school to work can be problematic for young people from low-income families; it is a subject of considerable public attention and that of the youth service sector (Bynner & Parsons, 2002). Without a job or an opportunity to study, these youths may encounter financial, social, and eventually mental and behavioral problems (Creed, 1999; Schaufeli, 1997). However, this paper argues that there are opportunities for them to flourish despite their deprived family backgrounds. Revealing the factors that underlie such success is important to help them gain autonomy and a prosperous future.

Very little research is available both in Hong Kong and elsewhere that concerns the factors relating to the success of young people from low-income families. A review of the literature reveals that these youths are at greater risk of experiencing problems due to their economic disadvantage (Kmec & Fustenberg, 2002; Rich, 1999). This disadvantage arises from the financial problems in their family, which undermine their social networks and social capital. Research also suggests that the contextual factors, and notably the economic factors, in a youth's family shape the life path of that person. A culture of poverty can entrench adverse family conditions, and perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of poverty and failure (Corcoran & Adams, 1997). The identification of low-income families as a source of problems for young people is an important first step in the provision of help and services to them, but what is more important, both for research and for practice, is the identification of the factors that help these youngsters thrive.

In Hong Kong, the transition from school to work has attracted some notable research attention. For instance, one study shows that youth mental problems are related to unemployment and job search behavior (Lai & Chan, 2002). Others indicate adverse work conditions during the recession as a factor (Chiu, Ho, & Lui, 1997; Kwong, 1997). At a macro level, the occurrence of serious youth problems is attributable to the economic climate (Estes, 2002); thus youth poverty is a significant issue. As a result of the economic downturn since 1997, the unemployment rate for those aged between 15 and 24 has been hovering from 10 to 15% (Census & Statistics Department, 2006). The median monthly income of working youth is $6,500 (US$831), which is below the median monthly income $10,000/US$1278) of the working population (Social Sciences Research Center, 2004). Moreover, the number of both senior secondary and post-secondary students receiving financial assistance (such as fee remission assistance and means-tested grant and loan assistance) has been rising dramatically in recent years (Social Sciences Research Center, 2004). All these show that the poverty problem among young people is escalating (Ngai & Ngai, 2007; Wong, 2006).

LITERATURE REVIEW

Social capital and social support are important factors in youth development. Social support can be viewed as a means of acquiring social capital (Markward, McMillan, & Markward, 2003). In other words, young people acquire social capital through support from family, peers, and other social systems (Holland, Reynolds, & Weller, 2007). In addition to the role of "significant others," Stanton-Salazar (1997) holds that social support also comes from institutional agents, those who have the capacity and commitment to transmit directly, or negotiate the transmission of institutional resources and opportunities such as social workers, counselors, and job-training providers. Past research also has revealed that young people who participated in programs to enhance their personal development, including social work programs, were more likely to be successful in education (Campbell & Ramey, 1994; Huston, Duncan, Granger, Bos, McLoyd, Mistry, Crosby, Gibson, Magnuson, Remich, & Ventura, 2001).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Effects of Service Participation, Friendship Networks, and Family Support on Developmental Outcomes: A Study of Young People from Low-Income Families in Hong Kong
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?