The aim of this study was to examine whether the two components of parental social support, emotional and instrumental, are associated with various aspects of adolescent well-being in the current Chinese context. A sample of 1306 adolescents (47% girls, 11, 13 and 15 years old, 39% urban) was derived from the nationally representative 2012 survey “China Family Panel Studies”. Four indicators of adolescent well-being were examined: health status, academic attainment, self-perception and depression. Logistic regression and multiple linear regression models were applied to analyze associations between the two domains of parental social support and four indicators of adolescent well-being, respectively. Both the intermediate and high levels of emotional support were associated with better self-perception and lower levels of depression, while these associations were only reflected at the high level of instrumental support. In addition, only the high level of emotional support was associated with higher academic attainment. Overall these associations remained after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, including age, gender, living location, family income and family size. However, some of the confounders were more influential on adolescent well-being than others. For example, those adolescents who lived in rural areas were more likely to report suboptimal health status. These findings are discussed in the context of the rapid changes in Chinese society. This research adds to the empirical evidence on the association between parental social support and adolescent well-being in contemporary Mainland China.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)299–317
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5142 Social policy
  • 5145 Social work

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