Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1415–1427 | Cite as

Parental Rearing Behaviors and Adolescent’s Social Trust: Roles of Adolescent Self-esteem and Class Justice Climate

  • Yan Liu
  • Leishi Fei
  • Xiaomin Sun
  • Cong Wei
  • Fang Luo
  • Zhongquan Li
  • Liming Shen
  • Gang Xue
  • Xiuyun Lin
Original Paper


Research on the antecedents and underlying mechanisms of the formation of adolescent social trust is scant. Family and school are two major environments in which adolescents become socialized. The current study examined the effect of parental rearing behaviors (rejection, emotional warmth and overprotection) on adolescent social trust, exploring the mediating role of adolescent self-esteem and the multilevel moderated role of the Level 2 variable class justice climate. The sample included 612 (12–16 years old) middle school students in China. Participants completed the s-EMBU, the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale, Rosenberg’s Faith in People Scale and the perceptions of class justice scale, along with other control variables. The results suggested that parental rearing behaviors significantly predicted adolescent social trust, regardless of adolescent gender or age. Additional mediation analysis suggested that parental rearing behaviors had both direct effects on adolescent social trust and indirect effects through adolescent self-esteem. Further multilevel structural equation modeling indicated that class justice climate moderated the effect of parental rejection on adolescent self-esteem. The findings suggest that family and school practice jointly shape adolescents’ social trust. How parents treat their children has a huge influence on the degree to which their children trust other people. In addition, perceived class justice could buffer the harmfulness of negative parental rearing behaviors.


Parental rearing behaviors Adolescent Social trust Self-esteem Class justice climate 


Author Contributions

Y. L.: Designed and executed the study and assisted in revising the manuscript. L. F.: Conducted data analysis and wrote the method and result section of the manuscript. Y. L. and L. F. contributed equally to this work and share first authorship. X. S.: Conceptualized and designed the study, wrote the introduction and discussion section of the manuscript, and revised the manuscript. C. W.: Assisted in data analysis. F. L.: Assisted in data analysis. Z. L.: Assisted in data analysis. L. S.: Assisted in data analysis. G. X.: Collaborated in writing the manuscript. X. L.: Assisted in editing the final manuscript.


This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 71101012), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, the State Scholarship Fund from the China Scholarship Council (grant number 201406045033) and the Advanced Innovation Center for Future Education at Beijing Normal University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

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


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Psychology Education (Beijing Normal University), Faculty of PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Experimental School Affiliated to Haidian Teachers Training CollegeBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, School of Social and Behavior SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  4. 4.Department of Public AdministrationChinese Academy of GovernanceBeijingChina
  5. 5.Institute of Developmental PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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