A study of students' perceived parenting styles and their influence on the formation of inferiority complex at a community college in Hong Kong

Leung, K.W.F., 2021. A study of students' perceived parenting styles and their influence on the formation of inferiority complex at a community college in Hong Kong. EdD, Nottingham Trent University.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between inferiority feelings as proposed by Adler and perceived parenting style of sub-degree students from a community college in Hong Kong, as well as exploring the meaning of inferiority complex among them.

The study was carried out in two phases: phase one was a quantitative study. Three hundred and eighty-nine community college students completed the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965, 1979) and Buri's Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ)(1991). Phase two was a qualitative study using an extended case study approach. Data were collected via conducting face-to-face interviews with seventeen community college students, who were invited by teachers from different divisions of a large-scale community college in Hong Kong. Results showed a significant positive correlation between self-esteem and maternal permissiveness, as well as a significant negative correlation between maternal authoritarianism and self-esteem.

A key finding from this study was that parenting style contributed to students' self-esteem significantly, with maternal parenting style being one of the key sources of young people’s feelings of inferiority. This is partially in line with Adler's view on permissiveness as one of the sources of inferiority complex. Data also revealed that family bonding in the traditional Chinese parenting style, which includes features like tiger parenting, filial piety, obligation to bring honour to the family, humbleness and respect for absolute parental authority, is a distinctive entity embedded in all families among those community college students who had participated in the study. Additionally, the evidence from the data revealed that inferiority complex is being defined by community college students as a by-product from comparison with other people. To the interviewees, constant comparisons between individuals in terms of (i) familial and personal circumstances; (ii) internal (include inner self-judgment) and external (include societal evaluation) would lead to a sense of inferiority. For them, the comparison with other people is the very nature of inferiority complex itself.

In conclusion, defining the inferiority complex as comparison and stating diligence as the solution for getting rid of the sense of inferiority implied that traditional Chinese parenting style is affecting these students' perception on inferiority complex. While Adler indicated that pampering and neglectful parenting style, as well as social comparison, were contributing factors to the formation of inferiority complex, findings in this study added to the literature on Adler's construct of inferiority complex that Chinese culture is a critical component which is missing in Adler’s concept of inferiority complex, when it is being applied to local community college students.

My findings would provide new insight for teachers in Hong Kong in designing teaching pedagogy and assessment methods, whilst this research also advises professional counsellors or psychologists the need to explore clients' relationships with their parents at counselling sessions, with an emphasis on parents' and client's role-taking and identities in families; and the effects of comparison with peers might have on clients.

Finally, besides filling the gap of knowledge in Adler's concept of inferiority, this study also revealed another gap of knowledge need to be further investigated, that is, what exactly is inferiority complex in Chinese culture.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Leung, K.W.F.
Date: February 2021
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Institute of Education
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 09 Jul 2021 09:49
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2021 10:07
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/43389

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