A Longitudinal Study of the Relations of Family Factors to Adolescent Psychological Symptoms, Coping Resources, School Behavior, and Substance Abuse - Daniel T. L. SHEK CHAN Lai Kwan
Daniel T. L. SHEK
CHAN Lai Kwan
Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
[Abstract] The purpose of the present article is to report research findings on the relationships between family factors and adolescent adjustment in early adolescents. Over two consecutive years, 378 adolescents in Hong Kong responded to instruments measuring their family environment (including measures of specific parenting behavior, global parenting styles, parent-adolescent conflict, and family functioning), general psychological symptoms, coping resources (sense of hope, life satisfaction, self-esteem and purpose in life), school behavior (perceived academic performance and conduct), academic performance (grades in Chinese, English, and Mathematics) and substance abuse (smoking and psychotropic substance abuse). The participants’ subjective perceptions of the family atmosphere, parent-adolescent relationship, and parent-adolescent communication were also assessed via structured in-depth interviews.
Results showed that family factors based on questionnaire and interview data were concurrently related to adolescent psychological symptoms, coping resources, school behavior and substance abuse at Time 1 and Time 2. Longitudinal and prospective analyses (Time 1 predictors predicting Time 2 criterion variables) based on simple bivariate, partial, and canonical correlation analyses similarly showed that adolescents who perceived a more positive family environment at Time 1 had: (a) lower levels of psychological symptoms and substance abuse behavior; (b) higher levels of coping resources; (c) more positive perceptions of school behavior; and (d) better academic performance at Time 2.
Since multiple measures of family factors and adolescent adjustment were employed, the data arising from this study can give us a more comprehensive and holistic view about the linkages between family factors and adolescent adjustment over time. This study is also important because this is the first known scientific attempt examining the links between several family factors and adolescent adjustment in the Chinese context adopting a longitudinal design in which both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Practically speaking, the present findings highlight the importance of: (a) understanding the families of adolescents when working with adolescents; (b) changing the family environment of adolescents when we attempt to change the behavior of adolescents; and (c) cultivating a positive family environment for adolescent development. As far as primary prevention in adolescent maladjustment is concerned, it is suggested that family life education programmes that focus on enhancing the specific parenting practices, global parenting styles, family functioning, family atmosphere, parent-adolescent relationship, and parent-adolescent communication, and reducing parent-adolescent conflict in families of early adolescents should be designed.
The Development of Restorative Justice in Hong Kong
Dennis S. W. WONG
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, City University Hong Kong
[Abstract] Based on the Western experience and the Chinese cultural characteristics, this paper argues that restorative justice is an appropriate approach for treating juvenile delinquents in Hong Kong. To begin with, victim-offender mediation service can be incorporated into existing services for marginal youth such as Youth Integrated Team and Police Superintendent Discretionary Scheme. This paper also suggests to set up a mechanism, such as Family Group Conference, to provide pre-court mediation service to young people who are in trouble.
Rethinking Indigenous Youth Research - TING Wai Fong HO Wing Chung
TING Wai Fong
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
HO Wing Chung
M. Phil. Student, Department of Applied Social Studies, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
[Abstract] As professional social workers, we concern about not only the content of the theories but also their "origins", and their building process(es). Empirical research is extremely important in process of edifying theory and professional knowledge. Regarding the scope of youth social work, in order to understand what the youth think and (re)construct how the youth is perceived in the society, we must look into the various problems manifested in the youth-related-researches (YRRs). This paper attempts to start by following the foci of indigenous YRRs, their methods and results, to examine how these researches have shaped a negative perception for the youth. Besides, the constraints originated from the "inaccuracy" of certain research methods, as well as the research results cannot help the front-line social workers provide professional services. We try to voice out our examination on some typical indigenous YRRs so that the researchers can rethink the problems we raise. It is hoped that the indigenous knowledge, theories, and social work relating to the youth can grow, and progress healthily in the future.
Youth Work in the Youth Support Scheme - Bonnie M. W. CHENG
Bonnie M. W. CHENG
Youth Social Worker, Youth Support Scheme, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups
[Abstract] The Youth Support Scheme is a pilot project which mainly serves children and youth who are at risk or have been cautioned by the police under the Police Superintendent Discretionary Scheme. The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups has started the operation since December 1994. This article mainly concludes author's working experiences of the past three years. To start with, some guidelines are suggested when initiating case contact and home visit. Four group examples are shared to illustrate the group dynamics and interventions. Some issues and concerns are further highlighted in managing case supervision and intervention. At the end of the article, the major findings in the Report on the evaluation of the Scheme are listed out to demonstrate the effectiveness in reducing service targets' likelihood to commit any offence again. They had achieved positive changes in eight dimensions which include deviant behavior, family values, sense of social responsibility, life aspiration, attitudes towards authority, social skills, attitudes towards studying and attitudes towards working.
A New Direction for Civic Education in Hong Kong SAR - LAI Kwok Hung
LAI Kwok Hung
Civic Education Coordinator, Vocational Training Council
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Hong Kong
[Abstract] As a result of the reunification of Hong Kong with China, the national identity of Hong Kong citizens is needed to be redefined. However, due to more than one hundred and fifty years of colonial rule which foster an "alien subject education" and the culture of "bureaucratic politics" is enhanced. Hong Kong people, as a Chinese are unable to build up a sense of nationalism, though local schools had already conducted "civics" as a separate subject in the 1930s. This subject was revised several times in content until it was renamed to EPA in 1965. However, the syllabus is very much emphasized on the knowledge of Government policy instead of promoting political participation. In fact, the Government has exercised tight control on the syllabus and curricula taught in schools. Until 1985, Education Department proposed the first "Guidelines on Civic Education in Schools" which recommended schools to deliver civic education through hidden curriculum. Effects are subject to queries. Research findings confirm that young people are a group of idealistic observers who have inadequate knowledge and skills to involve in public affairs. However, democratization and de-colonization processes are further speed up, especially during the late transition period, Hong Kong people were able to directly elect their representatives in the three-tier political structure. These mass political campaigns and mobilization could further promote a sense of social consciousness among the younger generation. In fact, political participation is the best form of political education. The author proposes that the focus of civic education should be on both nationalistic and democratic themes. Besides, as participatory-oriented approach should be adopted so that young people could be provided with ample opportunities to participate in the decision making process on issues directly affecting their well-being. Whereas, the Government should be responsible to enhance a sense of openness and accountability in the bureaucracy and to develop a fairly elected and pro-democratic political structure so that citizens could effectively exercise their rights to monitor the government for the consolidation of the concept of "One Country, Two Systems".
Youth Work: Postmodern Turn - Wallace K. C. SHIU
Wallace K. C. SHIU
Youth Social Worker, Tsuen Wan Integrated Youth Service Centre,
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups
M. Phil. Student, The Hong Kong Baptist University
[Abstract] Youth service development in Hong Kong has undergone several stage of development which is given by the changing context of development of Hong Kong society. Meanwhile, during the past thirty years, youth social work has also grown steadily into a diversity of approaches. Starting from a historical perspective, the author reviewed the development of youth social work as a social construction process. An appraisal examining the ideological background of youth social work as positivistic scientism has also made.
Postmodernism has received greater attention in the academic field in Hong Kong. Postmodernist analysis has had little impact on theory and practice in youth social work. However, the author argues that there is not a systematic discussion on postmodernism and youth work in Hong Kong. Among the scattered literature, postmodernism is often stereotyped as an uniform entity which is disorganized, disruptive and destructive. The author further postulates that this is not true and contends that we need to have global understanding and evaluation of postmodernism and its impact on social work. Through this, we can have more value alternatives for contemplation on postmodernism, this is, to reflect on, to enrich, or even to replace, the tenets of conventional youth social work. If the postmodernist youth social work is not a myth, enabling the youth worker to share an challenging role is pertinent to its success.
Critical Approach in Youth Centre – Theory and Practice - MOK Hon Fai
MOK Hon Fai
Centre-in-Charge, Mei Lam Youth Centre, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups
[Abstract] In the present practice in youth centre service, Developmental Theory, System Theory and Functionalism are the heritage of most of the workers. Such conventional wisdom bases on a positivistic assumption and leads to personalize the youth needs and problems. Under such practice, we neglect how the unevenly distributed power relations and the taken-for-granted ideology contribute to the definition and solutions of youth needs and problems. In response to these, author tries to construct a "Critical Approach" in youth centre service which based on hermeneutic and critical theory. Hermeneutics informs us the importance of individual interpretation and the dialogical process in understanding the youth. Critical theory informs us the importance of reflection and critiques of the status quo, and the communicative rationality instead of instrumental rationality. With seven years practical experiences, this article summaries the main concerns of this approach, its essential ingredients - Enlightenment, Empowerment, and Emancipation, its skills and techniques. In summary, Critical Approach aims at:
reconstructing a deeper understanding of the youth needs and redefining the youth problems based on a youth perspective;
enhancing the youth's reflective and critical power in responding to their daily life practices, the changing social, economic and political contexts, and those "taken-for-granted" values and ideology;
providing platform to empower the young people to express their own voice; and
establishing a rational, non-dominating social relationship.