Attachment orientations, filial piety and future parent support provision among Mainland Chinese college students

  • Jin YouEmail author
  • Yibo Chen
  • Shuyi Xia
  • Man Yee Ho
  • Haikun Shen


The literature has documented the close associations of attachment orientations and filial obligations with parent support provision and caregiving in Western samples. Nevertheless, little is known about the way these factors jointly determine adult children’s support provision or caregiving, especially in Chinese societies. This cross-sectional study examined the way attachment orientations and filial piety would be associated with the willingness of providing different forms of support (emotional and informational, tangible, affectionate, financial support, and positive interaction) to aging parents in future among Chinese college students. Results showed that attachment avoidance was negatively associated with the willingness to provide all forms of support, and such associations were mediated by reciprocal filial piety. Attachment anxiety had a negative direct effect on the willingness to provide financial support and showed a positive indirect effect on the willingness to have positive interaction through the mediation of authoritarian filial piety. The findings highlight the salient role of attachment avoidance in dampening adult children’s willingness to provide support to aging parents in future, due to a lower level of reciprocal filial piety.


Attachment orientations Filial piety Support provision to aging parents Chinese culture 



Support was provided in part by Youth Grant of National Science Foundation (31500908), Youth Grant of Humanities and Social Science Foundation from Ministry of Education (14YJC190023) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (113-274098).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Financial disclosures

There are no financial disclosures from any authors.

Conflict of Interests

We declare that there are no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript. There is no significant financial support for this manuscript that could influence the outcome. We have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review our data if requested. The submitted materials have been published or under review elsewhere.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.City University of Hong KongKowloon TongHong Kong

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