Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia

Parents' Religious Involvement, Family Socialization and Adolescent Behavioral Problems in Hong Kong

Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia

Parents' Religious Involvement, Family Socialization and Adolescent Behavioral Problems in Hong Kong

Article excerpt

Introduction

Although salutary effects of parents' religious involvement on family well-being and development have been documented extensively in the recent family literature, efforts on investigating how parents' religious involvement that may influence family socialization which leads to behavioral problems of their adolescent children are limited. Furthermore, both religious involvement and family socialization are a multifaceted concept. But prior studies either adopted a single item (e.g. religious attendance and frequency of payer) to denote religiosity or treated parenting behavior as tantamount to family socialization (Levin et al., 1996; Mahoney & Tarakeshwar, 2005; Yeung & Chan, 2014). Against this, multiple forms of parents' religious involvement and family socialization in relation to adolescent behavioral problems will be examined in the present study. Furthermore, the family systems theory states that families are collections of individuals that are organized into subsystems and larger systems, each with their own functional integrity (Grotevant, 1998). Therefore, no information from a single individual can validly and reliably represent the collective, complicated, and dynamic picture of the family (Hayden et al., 1998). In this study, a multi-informant approach (e.g. the composite of both parents' and children's ratings) will be used to measure family socialization in purpose of avoiding method variance bias that is inherent in the single-party rating method (Bohnert et al., 2007; Simons et al., 2004). Taken together, this study aims to examine the influences of parents' religious involvement in the form of intrinsic religiosity and positive religious coping and family socialization in terms of positive family processes and effective parenting behavior on adolescent children's behavioral problems in Hong Kong by its grounding on the multi-informant perspective of family effects.

Parents' Religious Involvement and Family Socialization

An increasing number of studies have recently pointed out that religious involvement of parents could protect the sanctity and importance of the family realm and provide them clear norms and behavioral guidelines for how to rearing their offspring adequately. It also facilitates a supportive system (Shor, 1998; Mahoney, 2001; Mahoney & Tarakeshwar, 2005) which is considered to contribute to better family social socialization and well-being. In a longitudinal study by Pearce and Axinn (1998), quality of mother-child interactions varied as a function of the mother's religious involvement in terms of self-rated importance of religion and church attendance. In another study by Snider and his colleagues (2004), parents' religiousness was positively associated with each dimension of positive parenting practices which include parental closeness, support, monitoring and acceptance. More recently, Weyand et al. (2013) found that parents' religiosity was influential of their parental functioning in terms of parenting behaviors and parental sense of competence. Furthermore, a latest study by Li (2014) showed that family religiosity was significantly and negatively related to children's delinquency and much variance of the association between family religiosity and children's delinquency was mediated by couple's relationship, parenting behavior, and parent-child relationships. In addition, the other pertinent literature reports that parents' religious involvement is associated with multiple beneficial factors that may enhance family functioning and relationship quality such as sanctification of marital and family relationships, emphasis on parents' spiritual duty to achieve certain socialization goals and strengthened supportive network (Baucom, 2001; Dollahite et al., 2004; Mahoney, 2005).

In fact, the social role (Cherlin, 1992) and belief-based perspectives (Maio et al., 2006) as well as the social cognitive theory (Howard & Renfrow, 2006) can help to expound the favorable effects of parents' religious involvement on promoting family socialization and well-being. …

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