Filial piety and academic achievement among adolescents in Hong Kong

The effect of a Chinese cultural value on cognitive judgment and motivation

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2013
24 Pages, Grade: B+


Table of Contents



The Present Study




Academic Motivation Scale (AMS-C28) College Version

Morgan-Jinks Student Efficacy Scale (MJSES)

Filial Piety Belief Scale


Data Analysis








Filial piety is the core value in Chinese culture. This value influences Chinese students to have high academic achievement. Unfortunately, students with low academic self-efficacy should motivate themselves to study. There were few researchers to examine the relationship between filial piety, self-efficacy and motivation. The present research explores and examines the model of these three variables. 285 participants have been invited to finish the questionnaire. AMS-C28 motivation scale, MJSES self-efficacy scale and filial piety belief scale have been used in the study. The results show that filial piety correlate to academic self-efficacy and academic motivation directly. Also the results confirm the idea that filial piety is importance to Chinese student in learning.

Keywords : Academic motivation; Academic self-efficacy; Filial piety; Structural equation model; Adolescents.


Filial piety is the most importance traditional concept in Chinese culture (Li and Chen, 2007). This concept contains the idea about how children love and respect their parents as well as toward their ancestors (Chow and Chu, 2007). Therefore, Chinese children was seek to fulfill their filial obligation to repay their parents (Chow and Chu, 2007).

Hong Kong was an examination oriented society (Leung and To, 2009). The examination result could determine the children’s future. In the Chinese culture, children got a good result in the examination; they could get a good job easier in the future. That was the repay to their parents (Chow and Chu, 2007). The previous research showed Hong Kong Chinese students seek to fulfill their filial obligation through academic achievement as an important way to repaying their parents and bringing honor to their family (Hui et al., 2011). Other literature found the relationship between filial piety and academic achievement was positive (Lin et al., 2002; Chow and Chu, 2007; Li and Chen, 2007).

Surprisingly, researchers found the Chinese students’ academic self-efficacy was low (Chow and Chu, 2007). There were difference researchers found that family oriented goals affected academic achievement motivation and academic self-efficacy (Schunk, 1991). In addition, Miller and Brickman (2004) believed that filial piety affected to academic self-efficacy and academic achievement motivation. But there was rare research to justify the effect between filial piety, academic motivation and academic self-efficacy. The present research will justify the relationship between filial piety, academic self-efficacy and academic achievement motivation.

Academic motivation was the hot topic in educational psychology research (Chow and Chu, 2007). According to Turner, Chandler and Heffer (2009), motivation could be classified into three types, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation. Intrinsic motivation was the innate propensity to engage one’s interests and to exercise one’s capacities and to seek out and master optimal challenges (Deci and Ryan, 1985). It appeared spontaneously from psychological needs, personal curiosities and innate strivings for growth (Reeve, 2005). Extrinsic motivation emerged from environmental incentives and consequences (Reeve, 2005). It performed activities as a means to and ends, to satisfy an external demand or reward contingency (Turner et al., 2009). Amotivation was characterized by the absence of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Stavrou, 2008; Turner et al., 2009). When an individual could not manage the demands of the activity or could not exert control over its actions in order to have the desired result would probably feel amotivated (Stavrou, 2008). In many researches, they found that academic motivation had been influenced by academic self-efficacy and filial piety (Eaton and Dembo, 1997; Landine and Stewart, 1998; Bong, 2004; Klassen, 2004; Walker et al, 2006; Turner et al, 2009).

Academic Self efficacy referred to subjective judgments of one’s capabilities to organize and execute courses of action to attain designated goals (Bandura, 1997). Interestingly, Asian students got the lower academic self-efficacy but they could get higher academic motivation (Klassen, 2004). According to Eaton and Dembo (1997), they invited American students and Asian students to do the test. Before doing the test, they gave both groups of students’ questionnaires to report the self-efficacy of this test. They found that Asian students got lower self-efficacy than American students, but Asian students got higher performance than American students got. On the other hand, Hong Kong students’ self-efficacy and academic motivation were the lowest in various culture groups (Klassen, 2004). But they could get higher academic performance than various cultural groups (Gavine, 2009). The previous researches claimed that Chinese students feared the consequence of failure which was bringing shame to their family (Eaton and Dembo, 1997). This belief (I did well in school so that I could bring honor to my family and they would proud of me.) was the major belief in Chinese students; and the researchers called this belief as family oriented goals (Eaton and Dembo, 1997; Salili, et al., 2001; Klassen, 2004).

Family oriented goals in Chinese students were formed by traditional Chinese value. In Confucians conceptualized family as a one body (Hwang, 1999). Parent expected their children getting better academic achievement for bringing honor to their families (Hui et al., 2011). Chinese students had learnt this value by socialization (Chow and Chu, 2007). Previous research found that Chinese students’ academic motivation was influenced by their family expectation rather than their self-efficacy (Eaton and Dembo, 1997). Researcher found that making parents proud and happy was an importance source for motivating Chinese students studying (Salili, 1995). This kind of attribution that Chinese culture called it was filial piety (Hwang, 1999).

Filial piety could be divided into two types, reciprocal and authoritarianism (Yeh, 1997). Reciprocal filial piety included emotionally and spiritually attending to one’s parents out of appreciation for their effort in having raising one and physical and financial care for one’s parents as they age and when they die for the same reason (Yeh and Bedford, 2003). Repaying was the essential principal in filial piety (Yeh, 2006). Authoritarian filial piety indicated suppressing one’s wish and comply with one’s parents’ wishes because of their seniority in physical, financial or social terms, as well as continuing the family lineage and maintaining one’s parents’ reputation because of the force of role requirements (Yeh, 1997; Yeh and Bedford, 2003). Many research showed the filial piety positively correlate with academic motivation (Chow and Chu, 2007; Li and Chen, 2007; Hui et al., 2011). Researcher found that Chinese students’ filial piety significantly influence intrinsic motivation (Klassen, 2004). Furthermore, Chinese students’ self–efficacy had less significant influence to academic motivation than Chinese student’s filial piety did (Eaton and Dembo, 1997). Chinese students’ motivation could be driven by a strong sense of obligation to honor or repay their parents’ investment and sacrifice (Hau and Salili, 1996).

Teenager offenders were invited to participate in the present research. Teenager offenders got bad academic performance in mainstream school (Carroll et al., 1997). Students got worse academic performance; they would have less academic motivation and perform more anti-social behavior (Carroll et al., 2009). According to previous finding (Carroll et al., 1997; Eaton and Dembo, 1997; Gray, 1997), the relationship between academic motivation, self-efficacy and filial piety was similar to normal secondary school student. Furthermore, the previous research found that the academic motivation increased when juvenile had good parental relationship (Toldson et al., 2010). Similar as Chinese secondary school students, the self-efficacy of juvenile was low (Eaton and Dembo, 1997; Toldson et al., 2010). Interestingly, when juvenile improved their parental relationship, their self-efficacy and academic motivation increased (Toldson et al, 2010). In the present research, teenage offenders’ data and normal secondary school students’ data would form a structural equation model of the relationship between academic achievement motivation, academic self-efficacy and filial piety.

The Present Study

Due to the previous research (Eaton and Dembo, 1997; Eaton and Dembo, 1997), the present study was interested in the relationship between academic motivation, self-efficacy and filial piety. Unfortunately, self-efficacy and filial piety had been studied independently. The present study was done to test the relationship between these three variables by using structural equation model. The model could be analyzed by empirical data and inferential statistic. The present study was the pilot research in constructing the model for these variables.

In the present study, there are two research questions. What is the relationship between filial piety, academic self-efficacy and academic achievement motivation in Hong Kong teenagers? Therefore, the present study contained four hypothesizes to answer the all the research questions in this present research. And the confidence interval of all hypothesis testing would set as 95%. The present study hypothesized the relationships between filial piety, academic self-efficacy and academic motivation was positive.


Excerpt out of 24 pages


Filial piety and academic achievement among adolescents in Hong Kong
The effect of a Chinese cultural value on cognitive judgment and motivation
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Master of Education
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
547 KB
filial piety, academic motivation, academic achievement, cultural values, self-efficacy, Structural equation model, adolescents
Quote paper
Hing Kwan To (Author), 2013, Filial piety and academic achievement among adolescents in Hong Kong, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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