Cheung, Cecilia S., & Chang, C. (2008). Relations of Perceived Maternal Parenting Style, Practices, and Learning Motivation to Academic Competence in Chinese Children. Merill-Palmer Quarterly. 54, 1-22.Purpose and Hypotheses of the StudyIt is well known that Chinese children lean towards above average academic abilities. Previous studies regarding the area have given several factors including cultural beliefs, parenting, and socialization as contributors to the perceived success of Chinese children in the field of academics, but it not yet clear whether maternal parenting style is indeed related to the academic motivation of Chinese children.
The objective of the present study is to find out whether maternal parenting style contributes to academic motivation of Chinese children. SampleTo conduct the study, the authors obtained a sample of 91 fifth grade Chinese students from Hong Kong primary schools. The average age of the students were between 11-12 years old. Socioeconomic status of the samples varied, but the majority were from middle class families. For the sexual distribution of the samples, the number of male samples outnumbered the female samples with 49 boys, and 42 girls respectively. Methods and ProceduresBefore the participants were formally tested, the authors interviewed teachers and parents regarding common parental practices.
The information from the interviews were then gathered and analyzed until they were narrowed down to 40 statements. The statements were then presented to the children, until only 25 of the statements were left. To conduct the study proper, the samples were subjected to a series of scales regarding the parental practices obtained from the interviews, and official examination records were obtained from school records. In conducting the study, several factors were considered. The factors were: 1) support and engagement, 2) achievement and demands, 3) general surveillance.
The Maternal Treatment Scale of the Parental Image Differential was used to determine the perception of children of their mother's parenting style. On the other hand, the learning motivation was determined by utilizing two self rated measures of academic motivation. Result and DiscussionThe results of the study showed that there were no gender discrepancies obtained except for the sub scales of support and encouragement. The values obtained for the sub scales showed that boys had higher levels of perception regarding supportive practice than girls.
After correlation analysis of the variables of interest, it was revealed that the three clusters of maternal academic practices were correlated positively. Regarding motivation, it was found out in the study that ego and mastery learning were highly intercorrelated. It was also noted by the authors that perception of children regrading the four subjects were correlated to a high degree, and that children who rated themselves high in one area also rated themselves high in the other areas. The study showed that concern and restrictiveness, although independent could coexist with each other.
The study has shown that motivation regarding academics related to support and encouragement, while competence in Chinese children was explained by mastery motivation. Lastly, maternal demands regarding achievement and restrictive style contributed to the actual school grades. The study also revealed that academic practices were consistent, and this finding suggests that mothers do not employ a single form of parental practice but involve various practices in training their children.