Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 2596–2607 | Cite as

Autonomy-Granting Parenting and Child Depression: the Moderating Roles of Hope and Life Satisfaction

  • Wen Yu ChaiEmail author
  • Sylvia Y. C. L. Kwok
  • Minmin Gu
Original Paper


Depression is a common mental health problem among children, and autonomy-granting parenting was found to be an important predictor of child depression. Besides, important psychological strengths such as hope and life satisfaction were suggested to be protective factors for children’s development of depression. However, few studies explored the role of autonomy-granting parenting on child depression in Chinese families and the protective roles of hope and life satisfaction on the relationship. The present study examined the association between autonomy-granting parenting and children’s depression, and the moderating effects of hope and life satisfaction on the relationship among Chinese children in Hong Kong. Participants were 439 children in primary school Grade 4 to 6 in Hong Kong based on convenience sampling. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to assess the relationship among hope, life satisfaction, autonomy-granting parenting and children’s depression. Results showed that hope, life satisfaction and autonomy-granting parenting were all significantly and negatively correlated with depression. The moderation analysis showed that both life satisfaction and hope moderated the relationship between autonomy-granting parenting and children’s depression. The current findings firstly provide evidence for the negative association between autonomy-granting parenting and child depression in Chinese context. It also showed that hope and life satisfaction were two important protective factors for children’s development of depressive symptoms under the lower autonomy-granting parenting.


Autonomy-granting parenting Child depression Hope Life satisfaction Hong Kong 


Author Contributions

W.Y.C. wrote the introduction, results and discussion of the manuscript and conducted the revision based on reviewer’s comments. S.Y.C.L.K. designed and executed the study and helped with the revision of the manuscript. M.G. conducted the data analyses.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of City University of Hong Kong and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.


  1. Bahrassa, N. F., Syed, M., Su, J., & Lee, R. M. (2011). Family conflict and academic performance of first-year Asian American undergraduates. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17, 415–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bai, X., Wu, C., Zheng, R., & Ren, X. (2011). The psychometric evaluation of the satisfaction with life scale using a nationally representative sample of China. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12, 183–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumrind, D. (1966). Effects of authoritative parental control on child behavior. Child Development, 37, 887–907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Birmaher, B., Ryan, N. D., Williamson, D. E., Brent, D. A., Kaufman, J., Dahl, R. E., Perel, J., & Nelson, B. (1996). Childhood and adolescent depression: a review of the past 10 years. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 35, 1427–1439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. (2002). Health Crisis of Our New Generation: Surveillance on Youth Health Risk Behaviors. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  6. Centre for Health Protection of Hong Kong SAR. (2012). Depression: Beyond Feeling Blue. Non-Communicable Disease Watch, 5, 1–7.Google Scholar
  7. Chan, K., & Cheng, H. (2002). One country, two systems: cultural values reflected in Chinese and Hong Kong television commercials. International Communication Gazette, 64, 385–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chang, E. C. (1998). Hope, problem-solving ability, and coping in a college student population: some implications for theory and practice. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 54, 953–962.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chang, E. C., & DeSimone, S. L. (2001). The influence of hope on appraisals coping and dysphoria: a test of hope theory. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 20, 117–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chao, R. K., & Sue, S. (1996). Chinese parental influence and their children’s school success: a paradox in the literature on parenting styles. In S. Lau. (Ed.), Growing up the Chinese way: Chinese child and adolescent development (pp. 93–120). Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cheavens, J. (2000). Hope and depression: Light through the shadows. In C. R. Snyder (Ed.), Handbook of hope: Theory, Measures, and Applications (pp. 321–340). San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. Costello, E. J., Erkanli, A. SpringerAmpamp; Angold, A. (2006). Is there an epidemic of child or adolescent depression? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 1263–1271.Google Scholar
  13. Crockett, L., Veed, G. J., & Russell, S. T. (2010). Do measures of parenting have the same meaning for European, Chinese, and Filipino American adolescents? Tests of measurement equivalence. In S. T. Russell, L. J. Crockett & R. K. Chao. (Eds.), Asian American parenting and parent-adolescent relationships (pp. 17–35). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2002). Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester, NY: University Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  15. Department of Health of Hong Kong SAR. (2009). Child Health Survey 2005/2006. Hong Kong: Department of Health of Hong Kong SAR.Google Scholar
  16. Diamond, G. D., Siqueland, L., & Diamond, G. M. (2003). Attachment-based family therapy for depressed adolescents: programmatic treatment development. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6, 107–127.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Donath, C., Baier, D., Graessel, E., Bleich, S., & Hillemacher, T. (2014). Is parenting style a predictor of suicide attempts in a representative sample of adolescents? BMC Pediatrics, 14, 113.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Fergusson, D. M., & Woodward, L. J. (2002). Mental health, educational, and social role outcomes of adolescents with depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 59, 225–231.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218–226.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Garber, J., Robinson, N. S., & Valentiner, D. (1997). The relation between parenting and adolescent depression: self-worth as a mediator. Journal of Adolescent Research, 12, 12–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gilman, R., & Huebner, E. S. (2006). Characteristics of adolescents who report very high life satisfaction. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 311–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gilman, R., Huebner, E. S., & Laughlin, J. E. (2000). A first study of the multidimensional students’ life satisfaction scale with adolescents. Social Indicators Research, 52, 135–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gum, A., Snyder, C. R., & Duncan, P. W. (2006). Hopeful thinking, participation, and depressive symptoms three months after stroke. Psychology & Health, 21, 319–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hagen, K. A., Myers, B. J., & Mackintosh, V. H. (2005). Hope, social support, and behavioral problems in at-risk children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75, 211–219.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hankin, B. L. (2006). Adolescent depression: description, causes, and interventions. Epilepsy & Behavior, 8, 102–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harter, S. (1985). The Self-Perception Profile for Children: Revision of the Perceived Competence Scale for Children. Denver, CO: University of Denver.Google Scholar
  28. Hawkins, W. E., Hawkins, M. J., & Seeley, J. (1992). Stress, health-related behavior and quality of life on depressive symptomatology in a sample of adolescents. Psychological Reports, 71, 183–186.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Ho, D. Y. F. (1994). Filial piety, authoritarian moralism, and cognitive conservatism in Chinese societies. Genetic, Social and General Psychology Monographs, 120, 349–365.Google Scholar
  30. Huebner, E. S., Suldo, S. M., & Valois, R. F. (2005). Children’s life satisfaction. In K. A. Moore, & L. H., Lippman, (Eds.), What do children need to flourish? Conceptualizing and measuring indicators of positive development (pp. 41–60). Boston, MA: Springer.Google Scholar
  31. Jackson, W. T., Taylor, R. E., Palmatier, A. D., Elliott, T. R., & Elliott, J. L. (1998). Negotiating the reality of visual impairment: Hope, coping, and functional ability. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 5, 173–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jacobvitz, D., Hazen, N., Curran, M., & Hitchens, K. (2004). Observations of early triadic family interaction: boundary disturbances in the family predict symptoms of depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in middle childhood. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 577–592.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Koivumaa-Honkanen, H., Kaprio, J., Honkanen, R., Viinamaki, H., & Koskenvuo, M. (2004). Life satisfaction and depression in a 15-year follow-up of healthy adults. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 39, 994–999.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Kouros, C. D., Pruitt, M. M., Ekas, N. V., Kiriaki, R., & Sunderland, M. (2017). Helicopter parenting, autonomy support, and college students’ mental health and well-being: the moderating role of sex and ethnicity. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(3), 939–949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kunz, J. H., & Grych, J. H. (2013). Parental psychological control and autonomy granting: distinctions and associations with child and family functioning. Parenting: Science and Practice, 13, 77–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kurian, G. (1995). Hong Kong families: at the crossroads of modernism and traditionalism. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 26, 83–99.Google Scholar
  37. Kwok, S. Y. C. L. (2011). Perceived family functioning and suicidal ideation – Hopelessness as moderator or mediator. Nursing Research, 60, 422–429.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Kwok, S. Y. C. L., & Gu, M. (2017). The role of emotional competence in the association between optimism and depression among Chinese Adolescents. Child Indicators Research, 10, 171–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Laptook, R. S. (2009). Differentiation between low positive affectivity and behavioral inhibition in preschool-age children: An examination across domains of temperament, social behavior, parenting, and psychological symptomatology (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Database. (3401711).Google Scholar
  40. Lee, M. T. Y., Wong, B. P., Chow, B. W. Y., & McBride-Chang, C. M. (2006). Predictors of suicide ideation and depression in Hong Kong adolescents: Perceptions of academic and family climates. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 36, 82–96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Coping theory and research: past, present, and future. Psychosomatic Medicine, 55, 234–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lekes, N., Gingras, I., Philippe, F. L., Koestner, R., & Fang, J. (2010). Parental autonomy-support, intrinsic life goals, and well-being among adolescents in China and North America. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 858–869.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Leung, C. M., Wing, Y. K., Kwong, P. K., & Shum, A. L. K. (1999). Validation of the Chinese‐cantonese version of the hospital anxiety and depression scale and comparison with the hamilton rating scale of depression. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 100, 456–461.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Li, Y., Costanzo, P. R., & Putallaz, M. (2010). Maternal socialization goals, parenting styles, and social-emotional adjustment among Chinese and European American young adults: testing a mediation model. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 171, 330–362.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Liew, J., Kwok, O., Chang, Y., Chang, B. W., & Yeh, Y. (2014). Parental autonomy support predicts academic achievement through emotion-related self-regulation and adaptive skills in Chinese American adolescents. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 5, 214–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lo, H. H., Kwok, S. Y., Yeung, J. W., Low, A. Y., & Tam, C. H. (2017). The moderating effects of gratitude on the association between perceived parenting styles and suicidal ideation. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 1671–1680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lynch, M. F., Guardia, J. G., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). On being yourself in different cultures: ideal and actual self-concept, autonomy support, and well-being in China, Russia, and the United States. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 290–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Matte-Gagne, C., Bernier, A., & Lalonde, G. (2015). Stability in maternal autonomy support and child executive functioning. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(9), 2610–2619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Matte-Gagne, C., Harvey, B., Stack, D. M., & Serbin, L. A. (2015). Contextual specificity in the relationship between maternal autonomy support and children’s socioemotional development: a longitudinal study from preschool to preadolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44, 1528–1541.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. McKinney, C., & Renk, K. (2008). Differential parenting between mothers and fathers: implications for late adolescents. Journal of Family Issues, 29, 806–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Morris, A. S., Silk, J. S., Steinberg, L., Myers, S. S., & Robinson, L. R. (2007). The role of the family context in the development of emotion regulation. Social Development, 16, 361–388.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Ong, A. D., Edwards, L. M., & Bergeman, C. S. (2006). Hope as a source of resilience in later adulthood. Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 1263–1273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Peterson, C. (2000). The future of optimism. American Psychologist, 55, 44–55.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Proctor, C. L., Linley, P. A., & Maltby, J. (2009). Youth life satisfaction: a review of the literature. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10, 583–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: an introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 5–14.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Sheeber, L., Hops, H., & Davis, B. (2001). Family processes in adolescent depression. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 4, 19–35.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Silk, J. S., Morris, A. S., Kanaya, T., & Steinberg, L. (2003). Psychological control and autonomy granting: opposite ends of a continuum or distinct constructs? Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13, 113–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Silva, J. M. D. C., Morgado, J., & Maroco, J. (2012). The relationship between portuguese adolescent perception of parental styles, social support, and school behaviour. Psychology, 3, 513–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Snyder, C. R. (1994). The psychology of hope: You can get there from here. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  61. Snyder, C. R. (2004). Hope and depression: a light in the darkness. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 347–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Snyder, C. R., Harris, C., Anderson, J. R., Holleran, S. A., Irving, L. M., Sigmon, S. T., & Harney, P. (1991). The will and the ways: development and validation of an individual-differences measure of hope. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 570–585.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Snyder, C. R., Hoza, B., Pelham, W. E., Rapoff, M., Ware, L., Danovsky, M., & Stahl, K. (1997). The development and validation of the children’s hope scale. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 122, 399–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Snyder, C. R., Shorey, H. S., Cheavens, J., Pulvers, K. M., Adams, III, V. H., & Wiklund, C. (2002). Hope and academic success in college. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 820–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Soenens, B., Deci, E. L., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2017). How parents contribute to children’s psychological health: The critical role of psychological need support. In M. Wehmeyer, K. Shogren, T. Little & S. Lopez. (Eds.), Development of self-determination through the life-course (pp. 171–187). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Soenens, B., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2010). A theoretical upgrade of the concept of parental psychological control: proposing new insights on the basis of self-determination theory. Developmental Review, 30, 74–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Petegem, S. V. (2015). Let us not throw out the baby with the bathwater: applying the principle of universalism without uniformity to autonomy-supportive and controlling parenting. Child Development Perspectives, 9, 44–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Sierens, E. (2009). How are parental psychological control and autonomy-support related? A Cluster-analytic Approach, 71, 187–202.Google Scholar
  69. Steinberg, L. (1993). Autonomy, conflict, and harmony in the family relationship. In S. S. Feldman & G. R. Elliott eds, At the threshold: The developing adolescent (pp. 255–276). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. (1993).Google Scholar
  70. Steinberg, L., Lamborn, S. D., Dornbusch, S. M., & Darling, N. (1992). Impact of parenting practices on adolescent achievement: authoritative parenting, school involvement, and encouragement to succeed. Child Development, 63, 1266–1281.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Stewart, S. M., Bond, M. H., Ho, L. M., Zaman, R. M., Dar, R., & Anwar, M. (2000). Perceptions of parents and adolescent outcomes in Pakistan. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18, 335–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Stuart Parrigon, K. L., & Kerns, K. A. (2016). Family processes in child anxiety: the long-term impact of fathers and mothers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44(7), 1253–1266.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Suldo, S. M., & Huebner, E. S. (2006). Is extremely high life satisfaction during adolescence advantageous? Social Indicators Research, 78, 179–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Suldo, S. M., & Huebner, E. S. (2004). Does life satisfaction moderate the effects of stressful life events on psychopathological behavior during adolescence? School Psychology Quarterly, 19, 93–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Suldo, S. M., Riley, K. N., & Shaffer, E. J. (2006). Academic correlates of children and adolescents’ life satisfaction. School Psychology International, 27, 567–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Supple, A. J., Ghazarian, S. R., Peterson, G. W., & Bush, K. R. (2009). Assessing the cross-cultural validity of a parental autonomy granting measure comparing adolescents in the United States, China, Mexico, and India. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40, 816–833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Supple, A. J., Peterson, G. W., & Bush, K. R. (2004). Assessing the validity of parenting measures in a sample of Chinese adolescents. Journal of Family Psychology, 18, 539–544.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Thio, I. M., & Elliott, T. R. (2005). Hope, social support, and postpartum depression: disentangling the mediating effects of negative affectivity. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 12, 293–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Tsai, J. H. C. (1999). Meaning of filial piety in the Chinese parent-child relationship: implications for culturally competent health care. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 6, 26–34.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. Valle, M. F., Huebner, E. S., & Suldo, S. M. (2006). An analysis of hope as a psychological strength. Journal of School Psychology, 44, 393–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Van der Giessen, D. V., Branje, S., & Meeus, W. (2014). Perceived autonomy support from parents and best friends: longitudinal associations with adolescents’ depressive symptoms. Social Development, 23, 537–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Vansteenkiste, M., Zhou, M., Lens, W., & Soenens, B. (2005). Experience of autonomy and control among Chinese learners: vitalizing or immobilizing? Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 468–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Visser, P. L., Loess, P., Jeglic, E. L., & Hirsch, J. K. (2013). Hope as a moderator of negative life events and depressive symptoms in a diverse sample. Stress and Health, 29, 82–88.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Wang, Q., Pomerantz, E. M., & Chen, H. (2007). The role of parents’ control in early adolescents’ psychological functioning: a longitudinal investigation in the United States and China. Child Development, 78, 1592–1610.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  85. Wong, S. S., & Lim, T. (2009). Hope versus optimism in Singaporean adolescents: contributions to depression and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 648–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Yap, M. B. H., Pilkington, P. D., Ryan, S. M., & Jorm, A. F. (2014). Parental factors associated with depression and anxiety in young people: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 156, 8–23.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  87. Yeh, K. H. (2003). The beneficial and harmful effects of filial piety: an integrative analysis. In K. S. Yang, K. K. Hwang, P. Pedersen, & I. Daibo (Eds.), Progress in Asian social psychology: Conceptual and empirical contributions (pp. 67–82). Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  88. Yeh, K. H., Yi, C. C., Tsao, W. C., & Wan, P. S. (2013). Filial piety in contemporary Chinese societies: a comparative study of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. International Sociology, 28, 277–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Zhao, B. H., & Sun, Y. (2011). Ertong xiwang liangbiao zhongwenban de xinxiaodu jianyan [Reliability and validity of the Chinese version of children’s hope scale]. Zhongguo Xinli Weisheng Zazhi [Chinese Mental Health Journal], 25, 454–459.Google Scholar
  90. Zigmond, A. S., & Snaith, R. P. (1983). The hospital anxiety and depression scale. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 67, 361–370.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Child and Family ScienceThe Education University of Hong KongHong KongP. R. China
  2. 2.Department of Applied Social SciencesCity University of Hong KongHong KongP. R. China

Personalised recommendations