The Changing Chinese Family Structure and Adolescent Development

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.2, 2018


The Changing Chinese Family Structure and Adolescent Development



Wu Yuxiao, Wang Peng and Du Sijia


Exploring the factors affecting the general healthy development of adolescents is of great practical significance. By examining the relationship between family structure and the educational/social psychology development of junior middle school students, plus their intermediary mechanisms, we find that firstly, family structure affects children’s development; children living with both parents (in a two-parent family) show a higher level of educational/social psychology development than those who live in a family with one parent or none. Secondly, to a certain extent, family structure works on children’s development through the two mechanisms of family socioeconomic status and parental involvement in education. Thirdly, father and mother play different roles in children’s development; the mother is more important to educational development, but the father makes a greater contribution to the development of children’s social psychology. In addition, the distribution of family structure shows marked group heterogeneity, with more non-two parent families coming from groups with lower socioeconomic status. Because the development of adolescents is closely related to their socioeconomic status in adulthood, the negative impact on children’s development of lack of parental care should be heeded by academics and policy researchers.