Perceived Parental Behavioral Control and Psychological Control in Chinese Adolescents in Hong Kong: A Replication

Article excerpt


Smetana and Daddis (2002) defined behavioral control as "rules, regulations, and restrictions that parents have for their children" and psychological control as "parents' attempt to control the child's activities in ways that negatively affect the child's psychological world and thereby undermines the child's psychological development" (p. 563). With specific reference to parental behavioral control, Shek (2006b) suggested that at least five different aspects of this construct should be differentiated, including parental knowledge (how much the parent knows about the situation of the child), parental expectations (parental rules and expectations of the parent), parental monitoring (parental surveillance and tracking and whether the parent takes initiative to understand the child), parental discipline (reward and punishment of the child in relation to parental expectations), and global parental control with reference to some of the existing models of parenting, such as parental demandingness (e.g., Maccoby & Martin, 1983).

There are several limitations to the existing studies on parental behavioral and psychological control in the literature. First, the common practice of operationalizing parental monitoring in terms of parental knowledge has been criticized (Kerr, Stattin, & Trost, 1999). Second, few studies have examined different dimensions of behavioral control in a single study. Although parental knowledge has commonly been operationalized in terms of parental monitoring, the relationship between these two domains has rarely been examined in the literature (Crouter & Head, 2002). Third, most of the existing studies on parental control processes were conducted in Western contexts. Finally, psychological control is a "neglected construct" in parenting research (Barber, 1996) and the linkage between behavioral control and psychological control has been under-researched.

Shek (2006b) examined the inter-relationships among different dimensions of behavioral control and the linkage between behavioral control and psychological control in Chinese Secondary 1 students in Hong Kong. Since parenting processes change in the early adolescent years in the Chinese culture (Shek & Lee, in press), it would be important to replicate the findings of Shek (2006b) in Chinese Secondary 2 students.


Assessment of Parental Behavioral and Psychological Control

1. Paternal Knowledge Scale (PKNO: [alpha] = .85) and Maternal Knowledge Scale (MKNO: [alpha] = .87) were used to examine the level of parental knowledge of the child's behavior.

2. Paternal Expectation Scale (PEXP: [alpha] = .76) and Maternal Expectation Scale (MEXP: [alpha] = .75) were used to assess the level of parental expectation of the child's behavior.

3. Paternal Monitoring Scale (PMON: [alpha] = .85) and Maternal Monitoring Scale (MMON: [alpha] = .81) were used to assess the level of parental monitoring of the child's behavior.

4. Paternal Discipline Scale (PDIS: [alpha] = .71) and Maternal Discipline Scale (MDIS: [alpha] = .70) were used to assess the level of reasonable parental discipline.

5. Paternal Demandingness Scale (PDEM: [alpha] = .75) and Maternal Demandingness Scale (MDEM: [alpha] = .73) were employed to examine the demandingness of the parents.

6. Paternal Psychological Control Scale (PPSY: [alpha] = .90) and Maternal Psychological Control Scale (MPSY: [alpha] = .91) were employed to assess the level of parental psychological control.

The above measures have been shown to possess acceptable psychometric properties in previous studies (Shek, 2006a, 2006b; Shek, in press; Shek & Lee, in press).

Participants and Procedures

The data for the present analyses are derived from the Wave 2 data of a longitudinal study on parental control processes in early adolescents in Hong Kong. At Time 2, 2,748 Secondary 2 school students (1,204 boys and 1,544 girls; mean age = 13. …


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