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Chinese Adolescents’ Relationships with Mothers, Fathers, and Siblings: Associations With Youth's Internalising and Externalising Problems

  • Yi Feng (a1), Shawn D. Whiteman (a2), Siyu Xu (a3), Ling Li (a4), Shenghua Jin (a5) and Doran C. French (a3)...


The associations between Chinese adolescents’ family (maternal, paternal, and sibling) relationship qualities and their adjustment were examined among 540 Chinese families over a one-year period. Path analysis revealed that father-offspring positivity was associated with lower levels of internalising problems, whereas mother-offspring conflict predicted youths’ depressive symptoms and loneliness. Controlling for parent-offspring relationships, sibling intimacy inversely predicted youths’ internalising and externalising problems, whereas sibling conflict predicted youths’ loneliness. Multigroup comparisons revealed that youth gender moderated the associations between maternal conflict and youths’ depressive symptoms, as well as sibling intimacy and youths’ loneliness. Overall, results highlight the importance of family systems for Chinese youths’ mental health and the need to study sibling relationships in future studies of Chinese families.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Shawn D. Whiteman, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Utah State University, 2705 Old Main Hill, UT 84322, USA. E-mail:


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